Napier, NZ

Napier and Hawke’s Bay have become New Zealand’s premier lifestyle getaways. Located on the North Island’s eastern coast, New Zealand’s oldest wine-growing region boasts a superb Mediterranean climate and golden sand beaches. In recent years, Hawke’s Bay has become a leading producer of fine olive oils and artisanal cheeses. Wildlife lovers and birders will flock to Cape Kidnappers in Southern Hawke Bay: the Cape is home to the largest mainland gannet colony in the world.

In 1931, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake leveled Napier. The town rebuilt itself, and today Napier is hailed as the “Art Deco City” for its superb collection of Deco, Spanish Mission and Classical Revival buildings.

City Tour

Napier architect J. A. Louis Hay designed this iconic building in the suburb of Ahuriri, just outside the city center. (Photo CNN Style)

Dubbed the “Art Deco City,” Napier was redesigned in the art deco style after a devastating earthquake destroyed the city in 1931. Within a remarkable two-year period, 111 new buildings were constructed in the downtown area in the contemporary style of the times: art deco. The style, which originated in Europe in the early 20th century, highlights the optimism and idealism of the Roaring ’20s. It is noted for its pastel-colored structures marked by geometric lines and patterns and streamlined and sophisticated aerodynamic shapes created with glass and metal construction. Travel through the Marewa District, noted for its many art deco homes and its superb foliage.

The National Aquarium of New Zealand

Inside the 50m acrylic tunnel of the 1.5 million litre oceanarium, Napier, NZ

Started in 1956 with specimens collected by a fish-keeping club, the National Aquarium grew from its humble origins to an expansive facility with an international reputation for aquatic knowledge. The stunning 1.5 million liter Oceanarium can be viewed from a 50-meter-long underwater viewing tunnel, complete with moving sidewalk. The facility boasts kiwi, tuatara and penguin enclosures to highlight New Zealand’s indigenous wildlife. Wildlife from the Americas, Asia and Australia are also on display, including alligators and piranhas.

Sileni Estates Winery

Hawke’s Bay vineyard

Established in 1998, the Sileni winery is based in the sub-region of the Bridge Pa triangle in the lush and scenic Hawke’s Bay. The winemakers at Sileni are dedicated to the fine art of wine making, maintain the integrity of the fruits of the vine and ensuring quality is infused in every bottle. During tastings, guest will sip and savor their Merlot dominant Bordeaux blends, the Burgundy varieties of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, along with Pinot Gris and a Sauvignon Blanc.

Hawkes Bay Express

Hawke’s Bay Express. Napier, NZ (Photo New Zealand Herald)

The unique Hawke’s Bay Express is a modern road train that’s styled like an old-fashioned steam engine, but it travels on road, not rail, so you can get up close and personal with the city and the region. Inside, you’ll find a romantic, old-time atmosphere straight out of the opulent art deco era. As the bell rings and the whistle blows, you’ll be transported back to a time when first-class meant swing music, polished wooden floors and crimson-tasselled curtains.

Once all are aboard, you’ll head out along the scenic Marine Parade with seascape views of Cape Kidnappers. As you trundle through the city center of Napier, you’ll view some of the world’s the most stunning examples of art deco architecture and hear a commentary outlining the history of the 1931 earthquake and the city’s subsequent art deco rebuilding. The tour then heads over Bluff Hill, an older area that contains early settlers’ homes, and into Ahuriri. Once an old port village, it’s now a haven for summer tourists.


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