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.
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).
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.
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
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.
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
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.
road from Napier to:
& 25 min
& 45 min.
& 35 min.
& 50 min
& 50 min.