5 Must-Do's in Napier
Self-guided tour of the Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans
Napier’s Sea Walls are a collection of remarkable paintings splayed across buildings and splendidly obscure exteriors throughout Napier. In total, there are 49 artworks to admire. The Sea Walls are a reflection of community-based educational efforts focusing on major environmental issues the oceans are currently facing, while promoting the importance of long-term sustainability of natural resources.
You’ll find them in locations throughout Napier’s CBD and the wider suburbs – pick up a map at the local iSite Visitor Centre (located on Marine Parade, directly beside the Soundshell) so you can plan your adventure. We recommend hiring a bike from Napier City Bike Hire to experience them all – plus it cuts your travel time down considerably!
Visit the National Aquarium of New Zealand
The perfect activity for families, the National Aquarium of New Zealand is home to 100+ aquatic and land animals from New Zealand and across the globe. Peer into a range of sanctuaries to spot New Zealand’s native wildlife including the Tuatara and Kiwi, and then glide through the 1.5 million litre oceanarium via the spectacular tunnel – look up to see stingrays, sharks and more!
You can also say hello to our popular little penguins at their home in Penguin Cove and see which one’s were named ‘naughty’ or ‘nice’ for the month. If you want to get even closer, you can book a ‘Close Encounter Experience’ when it's their feeding time. Make sure you stop in at the Fishbowl Café for a delicious treat on your way out.
Art Deco tours
When visiting Napier, the Art Deco influence throughout the city’s architecture is clear. Delve into the fascinating history of Napier’s pre and post-earthquake buildings with a 2-hour walking tour. You’ll hear the story from an Art Deco Trust expert as they guide you through Napier’s CBD, introducing the Art Deco style and the characters that helped rebuild Napier’s ruins to what you see now.
For the ultimate Art Deco experience, book an Art Deco Vintage Car Tour – you’ll be driven around Napier’s suburbs in style, visiting iconic landmarks and learning about how the wider city was affected by the earthquake.
Visit Ōtātara Pā Historic Reserve
Located in the outskirts of Taradale, Ōtātara Pā Historic Reserve includes one of the largest pā complexes in New Zealand. Uncover the riveting Maori history and see the remains of terraces, dwelling sites and food storage pits that once supported a lively community. The pā complex was seen as a strategic advantage, thanks to its expansive views of Hawke’s Bay’s plains and its access to natural resources.
You can visit pā site independently or for a more in-depth and guided experience, book in a 2-hour tour with Napier Maori Tours.
Explore MTG Hawke's Bay (Museum, Theatre, Gallery)
This award-winning museum is a must-visit if you want to learn about Hawke’s Bay’s story and witness incredible art, culture and social history exhibitions. This multi-leveled museum features a wide-range of interesting artefacts with the exhibitions changing semi-regularly – so there’s so much to look at!
Next door, you’ll find the Century Theatre, where you can see films, live theatre and music. It’s also a great place for kids – there are plenty of activities to keep them happy. Make sure you also grab a unique Hawke’s Bay goodie from the gift shop before you go.