"Napier - What a City!" Napier by jono84
Napier Travel Guide: 200 reviews and 520 photos
Napier is a city id heard so much about, not only from workmates and other friends, but also from my grandfather who visited there not so long after the devastating earthquake in 1931, with the British Navy. So i was super dead keen to get down there, but up until just a fortnight ago we hadnt had the chance to get there, though thankfully when Waitangi Day kindly stepped in, it allowed us that chance.
Well, we packed everything into our hire car and set off for the picture-postcard setting of Napier for a long weekend. And what a great three days in Hawkes Bay we had!
The drive from Wanganui is very scenic to say the least, and the drive takes you through some glorious breaking landscapes, and sweeping fields full of grapes as far as the eye can see. Hawkes Bay is, if you werent already aware, up to its eyeballs in fantastic wineries, as many kiwis will strongly proclaim!! And having tasted some fine examples from the Bay, i can say their claims are very true!
Anyway, back to Napier... oh yeh, you will arrive as most do from the South, either on highway 50, or highway 2. Highway 2 takes you straight into the heart of the city via the gorgeous Marine Parade, which is lined with beautiful Norfolk pines, and immediately gives you a feel-good feeling about the place. I have been disappointed by many beachfronts i have visited so far in Nz (New Plymouth springs to mind), but Napiers is lovely.
Being from Englands sunny south coast, beach fronts are a pretty important factor in making a good summers weekend away, as they played such a major part in my childhood.
There is simply tonnes to do in Napier.
I wont go on and list everything cos ill probably write the same things on my tips, but we found loads of activities and sights to keep us busy for the time we were there. Not to mention the rest of Hawkes Bay, which stretches down to Cape Kidknappers which is also easily accessible off SH2 just south of Napier.
Napier is a busy little town, about the same size as Wanganui, and like so many cosy, sunny settlements in Nz, it has so much character which makes it unique. I would like to say that if you come to Nz it is a mistake to only see Auckland and Wellington or Christchurch because you really cant get a feel for what a real Kiwi town is all about!
We had a pleasant stay in the Criterion, and the photos around the place remind visitors of how grand the original hotel... more travel advice
We took an excursion on our way home to stop and see Te Mata Peak. Te Mata stands tall at 400m over Hawkes Bay, and... more travel advice
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