We spent the last part of our New Zealand trip in the Hawke’s Bay region on the North Island where we flew into Napier. The city of Napier, as the Art Deco city it is now, is the result of a massive earthquake in 1931. The majority of the buildings were destroyed by the earthquake and the fires that followed. The whole city was rebuilt in two years. The new buildings reflected the architectural style of the times- Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and Art Deco.
Walking around Napier’s city center is like traveling back in time. They offer guided walking tours of the city every day of the week. We happened to be there when they do their annual Art Deco weekend. Everyone dresses up in 1930’s Art Deco attire and celebrates their heritage with vintage cars, fashion, and music.
Beyond the city attractions of Napier, the Hawke’s Bay region has many outdoor activities to offer. In fact, we spent a lot of our time outside of the city center enjoying wineries, farm tours, and stunning views. Below are my suggestions for Napier and surrounding areas.
Where to Stay:
- The Farm at Cape Kidnappers– We stayed at this secluded hotel located just outside of Napier. Getting to this hotel from the main road is a bit of a trek, but it’s so worth it! The view is breathtaking from the Lodge at the top of the cliff. The food, the ‘farm-chic’ decor, and the industrial style pool were all highlights.
- Art Deco Masonic Hotel– Art Deco building near the sea front in Napier. A quirky and funky option located in town. The hotel has been rebuilt three times in its history. Supposedly, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh stayed here.
- Porters– A very affordable contemporary boutique hotel also located outside of Napier. I personally would prefer a hotel a bit outside of Napier just because I love escaping the city life to enjoy the serenity of nature. This one is sleek and modern and close enough to the city to get there easily.
Food + Drink:
- Pacifica Kaimoana– Michelin quality restaurant set in a weathered blue beach bungalow in Napier. The menu changes daily but is predominantly fresh seafood and premium New Zealand meat/game dishes. This is a high-end restaurant with a relaxed environment.
- Black Barn Bistro– A super cute lunch spot at Black Barn Vineyards set an actual black barn. I loved the atmosphere here. They also have a cute farm shop here called Blackk Barn Kitchen with unique souvenirs to bring home.
- Terroir– A classic French-Country restaurant at Craggy Range Vineyards. Come here for a romantic dinner by the fireplace overlooking the vineyards.
- Hawke’s Bay Wine Tour– My favorite wineries were Craggy Range and Askerne. The region has around 80 wineries and is well known for its Bordeaux-blend reds and Chardonnay.
- Art Deco Tour– A guided walking tour of the Art Deco buildings of Napier. Tours are every day, rain or shine.
- Te Mata Peak– From the summit of the peak you get panoramic views of the Ruahine, Kaweka and Maungaharuru Ranges and Cape Kidnappers. The volcano Ruapehu, in the Center of Tongariro National Park, is also visible on a clear day.