When I look back at my time in New Zealand, Napier is one of the places that always springs to mind immediately. It is hardly surprising given my fascination with the decadent 1920s and inter war period that I found this unique city at the other side of the world quite so appealing.
Napier was destroyed by a huge earthquake in 1931 which changed the whole Hawkes Bay region, flattening the city and oddly raising some ground that had been swamp to make it useable, farmable land. The city was rebuilt in the Art Deco style of the day, making it a haven for Art Deco enthusiasts all over the world. The annual festival every February is top of my to do list for my next trip to New Zealand!
The other thing that attracts visitors to the region (including Nikki and me) is wine. Hawkes Bay is home to some of New Zealand’s finest wines and is well worth a trip for any wine fans.
Nikki and I booked onto a winery tour as soon as we arrived into Napier (priorities!) at the local iSite, New Zealand’s fantastic tourist information service. We had originally planned on cycling between the wineries, but as we were there in July (which is the middle of the winter), the weather was against us. In the end I am actually really glad that we didn’t do it ourselves; by doing the tour we benefitted from our guide’s wealth of knowledge of the region and the range of wineries. We went to far more diverse and spread out wineries than we would ever have managed on our own and sampled a wide range of wines. I have included a list of the wineries and our favourite wines below for anyone who is particularly interested.
The tour ended with a trip up Te Mata Peak, the region’s highest peak, which was a (windy) perfect end to the day.
I would highly recommend Napier and Hawkes Bay to anyone travelling in New Zealand. Even if Art Deco and wine aren’t your thing (although I can’t see why they wouldn’t be), I don’t think any tour would be complete without exploring this region because it was so different from anywhere else I saw in the whole country. Napier, I will be back!