Introduction: Napier is the hub of Hawke’s Bay Wine Country, the second largest wine producing region in New Zealand. Growing the most diverse range of grape varietals in the country, Hawke’s Bay’s vineyards foster the carnival atmosphere of the region, hosting numerous outdoor festivals and offering fine outdoor café style dining.
Napier’s city centre complements its many fine examples of Art Deco and Spanish Mission style architecture with street cafes and a pedestrian-friendly main street. Its Norfolk Pine lined boulevard, Marine Parade, stretches along the shoreline, where the Deco inspired Sound Shell, formal gardens, the Ocean Spa, Marineland and the National Aquarium of New Zealand stand in sharp relief against the sea. On the other side of the boulevard, pre-earthquake double-storied wooden villas crowd in upon each other, transformed into an array of eateries and boutique lodgings. North of the city centre, Ahuriri’s dockside eateries and bars tempt patrons to linger in the afternoon sunshine, and nearby is Napier’s most photographed Art Deco building, the National Tobacco Company Building.
Hawke’s Bay’s Bordeaux-like climate, with its balmy summer days and mild winters, has fostered a culture of relaxed bon-homie. Locals and visitors alike delight in a calendar full of festivals, and its glorious range of local harvests yield a bountiful selection of epicurean delights to tempt the taste buds. Vineyard tours, food trails, and the weekly Hastings farmers’ market dare visitors to indulge in the finer things in life, and the mystique of the Art Deco era adds a rare finesse to the celebrations.
Heading south from Napier towards Cape Kidnappers, Te Mata Peak towers 400 metres above Havelock North, where walking and mountain-biking trails enjoy extensive views of the Heretaunga Plains and far-off Mahia Peninsula. Under ideal skies, even Mt Ruapehu on the Central Plateau is visible. Cape Kidnappers, site of the largest and most accessible mainland gannet colony in the world, is also home to the Cape Kidnappers Golf Course, sister course to the Kauri Cliffs Course in Northland.
Marine Parade's Masonic Hotel and T&G Building, Napier