Napier Things to Do Tips by vtveen Top 5 Page for this destination
Napier Things to Do: 97 reviews and 193 photos
Cape Kidnappers doesn’t mean: just gannets.
We decided to go on the bus tour and never did regret it. Overland Safaris offers a bus tour to the Cape and we did enjoy the breathtaking scenery very much.
First part of the trip brought us to Summerlee Station, one of the most beautiful golf ranges of New Zealand (to be honest we don’t like these kind of things, built with very much American dollars in the middle of such a piece of nature).
But then starts the gravel road and we did understand why the bus is a 4 x 4 wheeled vehicle. We passed small rivers, very steep slopes and inclines. There were some stops and we could admire the rugged coastline of Cape Kidnappers. And after a very scenic drive we arrived at the top of the plateau where the gannets are. Besides of the birds this is really a nice place high above the Hawke's Bay with lovely views.
We had a seat in front of the bus on the right side. The views are the best and when we reached the plateau we came suddenly face to face with some gannets on their nests. A great experience.
Address: South of Napier in Te Awanga
Te Mata Peak: information board
About 30 km’s from Napier and close to Havelock North lies Te Mata Peak. It is situated in the so called Te Mata Peak Trust Park. Accessible by car through a narrow winding and rather steep road to the top of this hill at a height of 399 metres.
The views from the look out are fabulous and we could see almost the whole of Hawke’s Bay, reaching from the Mahia Peninsula till Cape Kidnappers and rolling grasslands at the inland side. It is said the volcano Mt. Ruapehu is also visible. We did like most our visit in the late afternoon, because the soft light of the setting sun gives the landscape such a very special effect.
There are several walking tracks in the Te Mata Peak Trust Park.
Directions: Havelock North
close up view of gannets
Although we had already seen gannets before in New Zealand (at Muriwai Beach), visiting Cape Kidnappers Gannet Reserve is one of the highlights of our visits to New Zealand. It is such an fantastic experience to come so close to these wonderful birds. To see them flying to and from their nests feeding the chicks, or to look at the greeting ceremonies between two adult birds.
You can get very close to the nesting sites and it wouldn’t be any problem 'to touch' the gannets. We walked along the low chain and everywhere we did see these remarkable birds with their yellow head and long bill.
It is so amazing to know these birds come back every year to the same spot and even to their old nest.
Best period for a visit is from December till February when the chicks are on the plateau. There are three gannet colonies on Cape Kidnappers: the Plateau Colony (the only colony where visitors are allowed), the Saddle Colony and the Black Reef Colony. It is said there are more then 10.000 gannets on Cape Kidnappers.
There are three different ways to get to Cape Kidnappers. By walking along the beach, only possible at low tides. It will take about 5 hours walking. A second way is to get on a guided tour with a tractor and trailer, also along the beach. You will have to climb the steep cliff to the gannet colony.
We did a tour with a 4WD bus overland to the plateau. If you don’t want you don’t have to walk at all (see other tip).
Address: Napier / Te Awanga
shopping in Napier
Napier has an attractive shopping centre with lots of nice shops and some shopping arcades.
‘Down town’ is must more pleasant than in many other cities in New Zealand. They succeeded in creating a more or less pedestrian area with lots of side walk café’s.
It is just fun to browse around. Off course one of the highlights when shopping and interested in art deco is the Art Deco Shop.
The main shopping streets are: Emerson Street, Hastings Street and Dalton Street.
Address: city centre of Napier
flowering garden close to the Sound Shell
Make a pleasant walk along the Marine Parade, a promenade along Hawkes Bay. With lots of flowering gardens, fountains and sculptures. The Sound Shell, another art deco building, is situated close to the Visitor Information Centre and is an open air stage.
In the evening the Norfolk Pines along Marine Parade are decorated with hundreds of coloured lights.
Although the sea is very inviting on hot summer days; be aware it is NOT suitable to swim.
This beautiful building, perhaps the most iconic art deco building in the world, is situated a little bit outside the centre of Napier. More or less hidden behind Bluff Hill in a neighbourhood called Ahuriri, close to the port.
It was the office building of The national Tobacco Company, now British American Tobacco.
We were able to take a look in the hall inside the building. If still possible watch carefully for the art deco details.
The building has been designed by J.A. Louis Hay in the year of 1933, two years after the devastating earth quake.
Address: Napier - Ahuriri
entrance of a building
Best thing to do is to get a brochure, either at the office of the Visitor Information Centre (Marine Parade) or The Art Deco Shop (Tennyson Street). So it is easy to walk along the many art deco buildings in the city centre. When we did this unguided tour there were 89 buildings mentioned in the text of the brochure.
Some of the buildings are open for public and it is easy to take a look inside.
The walk is about 1 ½ km long.
There are also daily guided walks through this charming town (see website).
Directions: Hawkes Bay
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