Napier is best visited in summer when it’s East Coast location brings sunny warm weather.
Stay: At the Te Pania Hotel on Marine Parade.
Soak: At Ocean Spa. Casual entry for an adult is $9.00. Start off with a session in the lap pool if you’re feeling energetic before relaxing in the hot pools with the most serene view of the Napier foreshore and right out to Cape Kidnappers on a nice day.
The complex also includes a private spa, cafe, sauna, steam room and more. Don’t forget to sunblock up if you’re going in summer – you’ll be burnt to a crisp before you know it.
Get a Caffine Fix: Cafe Ujazi on Tennyson Street, Cafe Divine on Hastings Street or my absolute favourite The Wholefood Kitchen, also on Hastings Street.
Walk: The streets and admire the Art Deco architecture. The city was rebuilt following the 1931 earthquake giving it a unique identity. Every February the city goes back in time for Art Deco Weekend where visitors and locals dress in 1930’s attire and admire vintage cars and arial displays.
Browse: As well as the common chain stores Napier has some lovely unique shops. My highlights are browsing the racks of designer clothes at House of Aroha on Hastings Street and admiring the jewellery at Statements Gallery on Tennyson Street.
Kilt on Dalton Street is a must visit for me, though with stores now popping up in the main centres their clothes are no longer so difficult to come by.
The Statue: The bronze statue of Pania of the Reef was modelled on a Napier student and unveiled in 1954. Despite its heavy weight, somehow in late October 2005 she was stolen, but fortunately soon discovered and returned to her proud position by the fountain on Marine Parade.
Wine & Dine: Celebrate a special occasion with a meal at the restaurant at Elephant Hill. Or grab a bottle of wine, platter and blanket and enjoy the view from a grassy hill at Te Awanga Estate. To get to either of wineries you’ll drive through Clive. The place in New Zealand I feel most rooted to as generations of my family grew up here.