Napier's claim to fame is undoubtedly its architecture, and a close study of these treasures could take several days (especially if you're stopping to eat). Beyond the edge of town, the Hawke's Bay wineries are a treat.
Napier's pebbly ocean beach isn’t safe for swimming. Instead, to cool off, locals head north of the city to Westshore Beach, or to the surf beaches south of Cape Kidnappers.
Cycle the Bay
The 200km network of Hawke's Bay Trails (www.nzcycletrail.com/hawkes-bay-trails) – part of the national Nga Haerenga, New Zealand Cycle Trails project – offers cycling opportunities from short, city scoots to hilly, single-track shenanigans. Dedicated cycle tracks encircle Napier, Hastings and the coastline, with landscape, water and wine themes. Pick up the Hawke's Bay Trails brochure from the Napier i-SITE or online.
Napier itself is very cycle-friendly, particularly along Marine Pde, where you'll find Fishbike renting comfortable bikes – including tandems for those willing to risk divorce. Napier City Bike Hire is another option.
Mountain bikers head to Pan Pac Eskdale MTB Park for a whole lot of fun in the forest: see the website or call for directions. You can hire mountain bikes from Pedal Power, just out of the city centre, or from Napier City Bike Hire.
Given the conducive climate, terrain and multitudinous tracks, it's no surprise that numerous cycle companies pedal fully geared-up tours around the bay, with winery visits near-mandatory. Operators include the following:
Napier is strong on daytime cafes, and recent new openings have enlivened the city's evening dining scene. Some of the best food can be found around town in the Hawke's Bay's wineries, and in the cafes and bars around the Ahuriri waterfront.
Napier has a dizzying number of motels and backpacker joints, plus a few good B&Bs, formal hotels and apartments.
Drinking & Nightlife
Napier has a few hip bars in the old town, but most of the action is along the Ahuriri waterfront a couple of kilometres northwest of town.