Popular Things to Do in Napier
Food and Drink in Napier
Thanks to a wide variety of restaurants right in the center of town -- and Hawke's Bay-centric wine lists -- lunching in Napier is a delectable part of the port experience. Ethnic cuisine and seafood are among highlights to expect during a leisurely lunch in the shadows of Art Deco wonders.
Kilim Cafe: Turkish cuisine is popular throughout New Zealand, and you can't go wrong with the Ottoman-inspired kebabs, falafel, hummus, dolmas and meze at Kilim Cafe. (193 Hastings Street; open Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday.)
Cappadonna Cafe: The alfresco ambience of Cappadonna Cafe, set along a pedestrian-friendly street, makes this European-style cafe the place to see and be seen in Napier. It's a perfect spot to take a break from sightseeing and grab a sidewalk coffee, tasty sweet or light lunch. (189 Emerson Street; open 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily)
Don't Miss in Napier
Art Deco Walk: Explore Napier's architectural history with the original Art Deco Walk, sponsored by Napier's Art Deco Trust, departing from the i-SITE Visitor Centre (100 Marine Parade) at 10 a.m. daily for a one-hour guided walk (or 2 p.m. for a two-hour version). Extra one-hour tours are offered when ships are in port; check the visitor centre for times. Guides -- sometimes in period costume -- provide historical information while showing off Napier's architectural wonders (such as the National Tobacco Company Building, the Daily Telegraph Building, Napier Antique Centre, Hotel Central, the State Cinema and Gaiety Deluxe Cinema). They also educate visitors about the Art Deco style, which is known for sunbursts and fountains, symbols of speed and flight, geometric shapes and ancient cultures. Art Deco bus and vintage car tours also are available. Charges apply for all tours.
Marine Parade: The waterfront Marine Parade is a great place for a stroll. Look for the bubbling Tom Parker Fountain (a popular meeting spot for residents) and the pretty Pania of the Reef statue.
National Aquarium of New Zealand: The National Aquarium of New Zealand explores the undersea world of turtles, eels, tuatara and local fish. The building stretches out like a stingray along the shore at the end of Marine Parade -- you can't miss it. Allow at least one to two hours for an enjoyable visit. A free shuttle runs from the i-SITE Visitor Centre to the aquarium when ships are in port. (546 Marine Parade; open daily, 9 a.m.to 5 p.m., last entry at 4:30 p.m.; Admission charges apply.)
Museum Theatre Gallery (MTG) Hawke's Bay: You'll find this right across the road from the visitor centre and bus stop; it contains a wide range of cool art and design displays, as well as a fascinating interpretive exhibition from the 1931 earthquake. Cruise passengers can visit either with a tour or on their own. (Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Sunday)
Hawke's Bay Wine Region: Explore the Hawke's Bay wine region without leaving Napier at the New Zealand Wine Centre. The venue's wine aroma awareness room uses sniffing techniques to teach participants about the aromas (both good and bad) associated with wine. During the theatrical Wine Tasting Adventure, visitors sample six red or white wines while watching a 20-minute film that features insights from winemakers and a simulated flight in a vintage Tiger Moth plane. A wine museum, a shop and a wine-tasting bar for additional tastes are also on site. The Wine Tasting Adventure starts on the hour and half-hour. (1 Shakespeare Road; open daily from 10 a.m.; All tours and tastings are for a fee.)
Napier Prison Tours: This provider offers informative guided tours at 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., as well as self-guided tours and the opportunity to be processed with a mug shot. Visitors can still see the impact of the 1931 earthquake on the cold, dark corridors of New Zealand's oldest prison, as well as the hanging yard and gallows, solitary confinement and the graveyard -- as well as the completely contrasting and colourful Redemption Hill Garden. Tour costs apply. (55 Coote Road)