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Napier

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Napier is one of the most beautiful cities on the North Island of New Zealand. Despite being small with around 60,000 inhabitants, Napier gives the sensation to be a bigger. The Bluff Hill projects itself towards the sea and it is a reference point in the city, and also the highest point (photo above: view from the top of the hill). The city has developed basically to the right and to the back of the hill, but since 1931 it is also growing to the left. The reason is that before 1931 there was a huge lake that just disappeared in one of the worst natural disasters New Zealand ever had.

In 1931 10:47 am of February 3, a 7.8 earthquake hit Napier. The quake was not only too strong but lasted for an eternity of 3 minutes. Even for someone who never experimented an earthquake it is not difficult to image  how is to be in a situation like that of almost maximum destruction, for such a long time. Panic was everywhere and the devastation was total, with a curtain of dirt flying around just like a dense fog. To complicate even more the situation, butane gas leaks exploded in contact with short circuited wires. In few minutes the fire spread to the whole town. Almost every single construction went to the ground. The Ahuriri lake went up 2.7 metres above sea level, forming a vast new flat land. (the city's airport is there today). The balance of the earthquake was 250 dead and a large number of wounded and burned. (photo: Napier before the quake from the same point of the photo on the top).

Napier got on its knees and decided to stand up again. By the time of the quake, the local architecture was based on the Art Deco style. In reality, Napier and Hasting together had more building in Art Deco style than any other city in the world. The population decided to rebuilt the towns using the same design as before, and that is the why we started this page saying that Napier is one of the most beautiful cities of New Zealand. Everything is preserved and is there today waiting for your visit. The style makes these cities perfect for tourism, it is a pleasure to walk on the streets of Napier and see Banks, Hotels, Shops, houses, everything just the same way they were in the 30's. The centre is small but great in beauty and charm. If you look around, specially on the hill, you will find another interesting mixture of architecture. By that time, the Spanish style for building houses was in fashion, and what you will see is many house in that style with big verandas and ornaments. 

The Marine Parade, the street just beside the beach is an attraction itself. It has a 3 km track for jogging inside a park and some other attractions suck us Hot pools (fantastic) and the Marineland, park, where you will be able to swim with dolphins and see seals, sea lions, penguins and birds from the region. Marineland is at the moment the only marine Zoo in New Zealand.A visit to Napier is not complete with a visit to the top of the Bluff Hill (by car). There you will have a good view of  part of the city, the port of Napier, and to the famous Hawkes Bay. The Port of Napier is an spectacle the organization of the operations looking like a domino board with the peaces pilled up. The port is very clean giving the impression of being built yesterday. Also the Port of Napier is responsible for the biggest volume of New Zealand exports to the Pacific side Countries. To the right side of Bluff Hill is possible to see all the extension of the Marine Parade and beach until the Cape Kidnappers.

Cape Kidnappers has good waves for surfing but also a Garnet colony that congregates there sometimes of the year. There are many tours operators in Napier to take you for a day trip to the cape and to the Garnet Colony. One can stand at just 2 metres from the colony if the birds are there. The sands of Napier beaches have a bit of volcanic component mixed, so they are not very white, but the fact gives a distinct atmosphere to the beach environment making it looks beautiful with certain lights of the day. Fishing provides good results in Napier and too many other water spots and tours are available. From the top of "Te Mata" hill, hang gliders have good conditions for a flight, or you can take a Balloon flight over the region. River rafting and many other radical sport are available for tourist of all ages. But without any dought, a visit to Napier will not be completed without experimenting a local seafood dish in one of the many restaurants, of course, drinking one of the best wines New Zealand produces.

 Hawkes Bay and Napier produce very high quality wines. There are tours to these vineyard were you can see how they are produced and also have taste sections of different wines. Napier is nice city to spend a time, to live or to study. There are plenty of courses for International students, from basic English to Polytechnics and vocational courses. With all this great atmosphere,  Napier became one of our favourite cities in New Zealand to relax or go for action if we want. We strongly recommend spend at least a couple of day in Napier. The population is very friendly and there is not that rat race atmosphere of Aucklland. All the region including the township of Hasting, are very nice places to visit during your stay in New Zealand. Don't miss it.

Study in Napier

Attractions in Napier

Distances by road from Napier to:

Napier - Gisborne 215 km 3 hours & 25 min
Napier - Taupo 139 km 1 hours & 45 min.
Napier - Auckland 418 km 6 hours & 35 min.
Napier - Rotorua 220 km 3 hours & 50 min
Napier - Wellington 319 km 4 hours & 50 min.
Spanish Influence Hawkes Bay 
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