31 best things to do in the central North Island
Dominated by the enormous Lake Taupō and a trio of volcanoes including Mount Ruapehu, the Central Plateau is sporting a plethora of natural ...
Hawke’s Bay’s Art Deco capital of Napier is a sophisticated coastal town full of fascinating architecture. The abundance of Art Deco-style buildings is due to a devastating earthquake in 1931. What followed was an intensive rebuilding programme that created one of the world’s greatest collections of Art Deco buildings. Māori motifs incorporated into the classic designs make it unique.
Discover these impressive buildings on a guided walking tour or grab a brochure from the i-SITE and explore at your own pace. Don’t miss the Daily Telegraph Building on Tennyson Street, the ASB Bank on Hastings Street and the National Tobacco Company in Ahuriri.
Take a leisurely winery tour and dine at the vineyards and then, when you’re feeling a bit more active, stroll among Napier’s Art Deco precincts or enjoy action on the water, land or air. There are more than 70 wineries in Hawke’s Bay, and you can’t leave without experiencing its wines! Try Black Barn Vineyards in Havelock North, Church Road Winery in Taradale, Napier's famed Mission Estate Winery, or Trinity Hill in Hastings. For the ultimate European experience pedal your way around with On Yer Bike Winery Tours. Not thirsty just now? Seek thrills in Hastings with 0800 Skydive or stay in the air with Early Morning Balloons. Back on the ground there's golf links at Cape Kidnappers Lodge & Golf Course at Te Awanga, and touring with Gannet Safaris Overland, Absolute de Tours, or Takaro Trails. For water action on the land, head to the National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier or Splash Planet Theme Park in Hastings. You may also wish to experience the area's diverse culture and architectural legacy with guided walks from the Art Deco Trust, a visit to MTG Hawke’s Bay, or by taking a trip with Waimārama Māori Tours.
Tuck in to Hawke’s Bay’s outstanding produce, beautifully prepared, at the region’s excellent restaurants and cafés, or settle in for the evening at one of the Bay’s often surprising little night spots. Try new gourmet culinary experiences in Hastings at Arataki Honey, Rush Munro’s (ice cream), or The Strawberry Patch in Havelock North. While you're there get great coffee at Bay Espresso or, if in Napier, head to Cappadonna or Opera Kitchen. For a meal to remember matched with premium wines, dine at Mission Estate Winery Restaurant in Napier. Other places in the city worth hunting out include Restaurant Indonesia, or Pipi in Havelock North. Hit the town at the Rose & Shamrock Village Inn, Havelock North, or The Gintrap and The Thirsty Whale Bar & Restaurant in Ahuriri.
Get into the spirit of the Art Deco Bay with comfortable accommodation couched within the surroundings of impressive character architecture. Save on your accommodation costs at Napier's Criterion Art Deco Backpackers or the Eco Lodge Pākōwhai Backpackers in Hastings. Go boutique at the Art Deco Masonic Hotel in Napier. For comfy motor-lodge style accommodation, try Ballina Motel in Taradale or Napier's Bella Tuscany Motor Lodge or Motel De La Mer. Treat yourself at the Scenic Hotel Te Pania in Napier or The Crown Hotel at Ahuriri.
Ten minutes from central Napier, Napier Airport has direct daily flights from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Flights to smaller North Island destinations are also available. Napier is 2 hours from Taupo by road and 4 hours, 30 minutes from Wellington via Palmerston North. The Napier-Taupo Road is a 142km highway through a mountain range. In parts it is steep and winding, and is sometimes closed due to snow. Check nzta.govt.nz for road conditions. Coaches provide regular services and shuttles operate locally, with wine tours a speciality. Find out more about transport options at either the Hastings i-SITE, corner of Russell Street and Heretaunga Street, or Napier i-SITE at 100 Marine Parade.