Things to do in Napier

Our most recommended things to do in Napier

Napier: Cape Kidnappers Gannet, Nature & Sightseeing Tour

1. Napier: Cape Kidnappers Gannet, Nature & Sightseeing Tour

Discover Cape Kidnappers, the largest most accessible mainland gannet colony in the world. Witness the 20,000 gannets at the cape which are members of the Booby family, with distinctive black eye markings and a pale gold crown. Visitors to the colony will see adults and young nesting in serried rows carrying out their daily routine. In the air above your heads, these amazing birds with their 6-foot wingspan (2 m) swoop and dive as they bring back fish. On the ground, just a few feet away, the pairs preen and perform the dance of the gannets’ recognition ritual. The birds can be seen from September to early April. In September they return from their winter escape to build their nests ready for the arrival of the chicks during December and January. The chicks are then fattened up ready for their first and departing flight in late April when they go off on their annual ritual to warmer climates. After being driven to the Cape in an air-conditioned 4 x 4 coach there will be absolutely no walking required. You are taken right to within a few feet of these remarkable birds. Along the way, take in the breathtaking scenery of the geological landscapes and remarkable nature that this part of the country has to offer. Visit a production forest, view a predator-proof reserve and be accompanied by an experienced driver/guide who will provide a knowledgeable and insightful commentary throughout the tour.

Napier: Wine, Gin, & Craft Beer Tour with Included Tastings

2. Napier: Wine, Gin, & Craft Beer Tour with Included Tastings

Each winery will offer between 4 and 7 wines for a tasting split between reds and whites.  Chardonnay is the dominant white wine variety produced in Hawkes Bay, but lovers of Sauvignon Blanc should not worry, as you'll also be tasting that at Mission Estate. Shiraz and Bordeaux blends are some of the dominant red varieties. The first estate winery you'll visit is Mission Estate, which was established in 1851. The tasting hall and associated restaurant are located in a two-story Victorian mansion that offers magnificent views over the vineyards. The next stop is the Urban Winery, located in the National Tobacco building, which is famous for its Art Nouveau architecture. This stop is optional if you wish to enjoy three craft beers of your choosing. Next door is the National Gin Distillery, where you'll get to taste five gins. Then, take a 15-minute drive past the orchards and vineyards of Esk Valley, arriving at Linden Estate. Linden produces only 60,000 bottles of wine split between 13 different varietals. This will be a seated tasting with a complimentary cheese board of New Zealand cheeses. Afterward, travel back to Napier for drop-off in the early evening.

Napier: Gourmet Lunch and Wine Tour

3. Napier: Gourmet Lunch and Wine Tour

Mission Estate is one of New Zealand's largest wineries, producing 3,600,000 bottles of wine. You will be offered at least 3 red and 3 white wines throughout this experience, with chardonnay being the leading white wine and Merlot and associate Bordeaux blends the leading reds. The Mission restaurant has a wonderful reputation, and the setting is world class. Your luncheon will be a platter made up of cold meats, cheese, bread, fruit, and a small selection of hot seafood. You will be offered a tasting of 3 local craft beers or 4 local wines at the Urban Winery. You will then drive out to the picturesque Esk Valley for the final tasting at Linden Estate. Linden Estate is a boutique winery producing about 60,000 bottles of wine. Linden often has up to 10 wines to taste at once, and this experience offers tour participants great insight into the wines this region can produce. Your tour concludes with a drive out into the vineyard of a private quiet location where you will be provided with a selection of New Zealand cheese and biscuits accompanied by a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. At this point in the tour, your guide will provide you with a brief description of grape-growing techniques.

Napier: Cruise Ship Shore Excursion

4. Napier: Cruise Ship Shore Excursion

Embark on a shore excursion of Napier, exploring the highlights of the Art-Deco downtown and surrounding orchards and vineyards. Ride in a comfortable minibus, with stops at Bluff Hill, Old Port, the Colonial Mission House, the Sacred Baley, and more. After meeting with your local guide at the Napier Aquarium on Marine Parade, your guided shore excursion will begin. Throughout your tour, you will view Napier's Art-Deco city center from a comfortable minibus with big windows for better viewing. Stop first at Napier's Bluff Hill lookout for spectacular views of your ship berthed directly below. Next, discover the house and grounds of your guide. View his colorful gardens and panoramic views of the Bay and hear about the 14 square kilometers of land reclaimed as a result of the 1931 earthquake. Then, get back on the bus for a drive through the Old Port area of Napier and onto the Mission complex. The grand Colonial Mission House was built in 1905, then remarkably, it was moved by traction engine to its current elevated site. From the Mission, the tour travels through Puketapu (the Sacred Valley) past orchards, vineyards, and green rolling hills grazed by sheep and cattle. The tour then stops at the Esk Valley War Memorial Church which would not be out of place if located somewhere in Tuscany. From the church, drive next door to Linden Estate Vineyards. Enjoy wine, cheese, and biscuits, served under the vines at a site exclusive to this tour. Return afterward to Napier, but time permitting a stop at a local fruit shop for fresh fruit or some real ice cream. Get dropped off at the cruise ship shuttle, or downtown Napier.

Napier Art Deco Guided Walk

5. Napier Art Deco Guided Walk

Enjoy the beautiful Art Deco architecture that Napier has to offer and learn about the devastating earthquake that destroyed the city. Your tour will be taken by a volunteer guide, who is professionally trained and will tell you stories of life that was, as well as life as it is now. Watch a 20-minute film about the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake and gain a historical perspective on Napier before and after the earthquake.

From Napier: Cape Coast Winery Bike Ride

6. From Napier: Cape Coast Winery Bike Ride

Start off with pickup from your accommodation in Napier City or Havelock North, or make your own way to meet at your host at the shop in Ahuriri, Napier to pick up with your bikes. Then, take a shuttle to the start of your cycling adventure at the Black Barn winery. Te Mata Estate and Akarangi are very close by, so you can start your wine tasting early. With your first winery visits under your belt, cycle for another 3 kilometers to reach Craggy vineyard and see for yourself why the winery was voted Best Winery in Australia. From here, enjoy a 16-kilometer bike ride on the limestone cycle trail following the Tuki Tuki River, to the coastal communities of Haumoana and Te Awanga. Admire stunning views as you cycle the raised stop-bank trail and look out over orchards, vineyards and farmlands. Reaching the coast, be ready to taste some more fine wine at Elephant Hill, Clearview Estate, and Te Awanga Estate. If a local lunch is on your wish-list, your host will also be happy to assist with reservations at Clearview Estate. Te Awanga also offer the best pizzas in Hawke’s Bay and you can sit outside on their green lawn. At the end of the day, you will be collected and transferred back to Ahuriri or your accommodation.

Napier Prison Self-Guided Audio Tour

7. Napier Prison Self-Guided Audio Tour

Download an exciting MP3 Self-Guided Audio Tour combined with a fully detailed map of the area. This fascinating and raw tour of New Zealand's oldest prison will take you on a historic journey through the undulating corridors which survived the 1931 Napier Earthquake. The corridors are twisted and walls misshapen. You will learn about some of the most terrifying prisoners, including Drug Barons and Mass murderers, and an infamous "Eye Eater". Check out the graffiti on the prisoner's bed bases and hear how toothpaste had multiple uses for incarcerated criminals. This tour shows how they lived behind the huge Kauri doors and how some of them died. You will hear tales about villains, victims and heroes, and wander around the old complex while viewing the Pound (solitary and padded cell area), Mess Hall, Remand Hallway, Cell 6, Key Men and Trustees, Cages, The Dome, Women's Wing, Te Kooti, John Yalash, Ghosts, Garden, Terry Clark, Teresa Cormack, Graveyard, and the Hanging Yard with replica kitset gallows. Hear of the few escapes and view the open Shower Block which was not for the fainthearted. Only closed in 1993, the prison complex has been the site of many TV shows such as a 10 part brat camp, "Redemption Hill", and was featured on "Off the Rails", "Epitaph" and several news and documentary shows. Please note this is a downloadable self-guided audio tour, therefore you will have no physical tour guide leading you through your travels.

Napier: Full-Day Tour with Wine Tasting

8. Napier: Full-Day Tour with Wine Tasting

Discover the best of Napier's culture and food scene on this full-day tour. Cruise through the world-famous Art Deco City and hear the tragic story of its destruction by earthquake in 1931 and the subsequent rebuilding of the city as the Art Deco Capital of the world. After pickup, visit Bluff Hill Lookout and admire spectacular views of the surrounding area. Later, drive through the historic fishing port of Ahuriri and see the famous National Tobacco Company building. Continue past the breathtaking Art Deco houses in Napier's Marewa suburb before enjoying a wine tasting at New Zealand's oldest working winery. You will also have the opportunity to sample other regional specialties during your tour, such as fine chocolates at the Silky Oak Chocolate Company and manuka honey at the largest beekeeping business in the Southern Hemisphere. Here, watch live bees at work and learn all about the honey production process at the visitor center. Stop for lunch at Birdwoods Gallery where you can sample local wines and beers, admire artworks in the gallery, visit a traditional-style sweet shop or wander through a beautiful sculpture garden. Complete your tour with a visit to the iconic Te Mata Peak before getting dropped off back at your starting point.

Napier: Best of Napier Small Group Tour

9. Napier: Best of Napier Small Group Tour

Cruise Napier's world-famous Art Deco City as you hear the tragic story of its destruction by earthquake in 1931 and subsequent rebuild of the city, which has become known as the Art Deco capital of the world. Visit the Bluff Hill Lookout and see spectacular views (weather and traffic permitting) and see the Art Deco houses in Napier's Marewa suburb. Cruising through the beautiful open countryside, take in rivers, estuaries, and open farmland. Then, explore the visitor centre at the largest beekeeping business in the Southern Hemisphere and sample New Zealand's unique manuka honey.  Stop at Te Mata Peak for some exceptional scenic views (again, subject to weather and traffic conditions) before exploring Birdwoods Gallery and Sweet Shop, which offers refreshments including local wines and beers, as well as an art gallery, a traditional-style sweet shop, plus a beautiful sculpture garden. Finally, return to Napier. 

Napier: Art Deco Bike Ride and Wineries Loop

10. Napier: Art Deco Bike Ride and Wineries Loop

Adapt this diverse, flexible tour to suit how far you want to ride and what you want to see. Grab your family or friends and explore lots of local highlights, including wineries, estuary trails, Art Deco buildings, and coastal pathways. Departing the port village of Ahuriri, cycle around the port to Napier city, a world-renowned Art Deco treasure. Spend some time enjoying the Art Deco buildings before following the coastal pathway with spectacular views across the Pacific to Cape Kidnappers. Turn inland and follow the Tutaekuri River trail, overlooking orchards to the suburb of Taradale. Visit two of the region’s finest wineries, Church Road and the Mission Estate. Then continue onto the Ahuriri Estuary trail with its many native birds. Do all the route or just a part. Cycle 15 kilometers or 50 kilometers over a full or half day. This ride is tailored to you.

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What people are saying about Napier

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 208 reviews

Jan was an awesome guide who knows the land very well. Not only did she introduce the gannets, she also talked about the wildlife within the sanctuary and the landforms that make up this sanctuary. Would absolutely recommend this!

Our guide was very knowledgeable about this lovely town and the unique architecture. The walking tour was not difficult and it gave us a good base to start our visit

Ross was very helpful and friendly. A well rounded tour with a good variety of tastings. People at venues were all knowledgeable and pleasant.

Really good tour the best praise I can give is I have recommended it to everyone I have met going to Napier

Wonderful video footage of before and after 1931… fantastic and knowledgeable guide and very informative.