Friday, August 10, 2012

An Insider’s Guide to Napier, New Zealand

Napier New Zealand World City Distances Sign taken 1991
Photo by Daves
Architecture and fine wine are two of the most popular reasons why Napier has been a popular tourist destination. A tour of Napier will surely not be complete without taking a closer look at those two aspects, but there are a quite a few more interesting things to do and see.  Here are some insider tips to make your visit to Napier definitely more exciting.

Before you jump on the plane and head to Napier, read some of our travel tips. These tips will turn you into a seasoned traveler even if you haven’t done too many travelling. You don’t want to be bogged down by too much luggage in any of your travels, so it’s always a good idea to pack light.

One of the most interesting facts about Napier is that the city is relatively new, though you may notice amazing architecture in Art Deco design. The city was totally leveled during an earthquake in 1931 and so the whole city had to be rebuilt, and Art Deco was the popular architecture of the time.

If you’ve never experienced an earthquake before and can’t quite figure out how a whole city can be leveled, take a short trip to the Hawkes Bay Earthquake Museum. Not only will the museum give you a short lesson about how the earthquake destroyed the city, but they also have an earthquake simulator to give you a feeling of what it was like. The simulation isn’t very long but you’ll really feel an earthquake, complete with sound effects and things falling off the walls!

Art Deco is an interesting style of architecture that came about in Europe around the 1920’s. You’ll see plenty of Art Deco architecture around Napier. You could walk around by yourself, but it would be better if you took a guided walk tour. On a walking tour, you’ll be able to find out a whole lot more interesting information about this form of architecture.

Although it’s fun to walk around the city proper checking out the architecture, it would be a good idea if you can get a cheap car and drive around the city as well, as there are plenty more interesting places.

To get a great view of the entire city, drive to Bluff Hill Lookout or Te Mata peak. These are great places to get an entire view of Hawke’s Bay. Driving up the long narrow and windy roads to the lookout can be a little dangerous because you are still new to the place. You may see the locals speed up and down those roads, but they are more experienced and it wouldn’t be a good idea to follow their lead.

Napier is a city that is known for fine wine and there are plenty of wineries that you can visit. Remember, a trip to Napier is not complete without tasting their wine, so make it a point to visit a few (if not all) of the wineries when you’re there. 

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