Napier

Overview

Introduction

Almost completely rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in the early 1930s, Napier, New Zealand, 205 mi/335 km northeast of Wellington on the North Island, is famous for its beautiful art-deco buildings. The art museum sponsors guided tours of the architecture on Sunday afternoons. The National Aquarium is one of the best in the Southern Hemisphere, housing turtles, seahorses, sharks and other fish, as well as rare tuatara lizards.

Be sure to pick up an Art Trail brochure from the tourist information office, which lists more than 40 home studios, workshops and galleries of local artists. While in the area, go wine tasting at some of the country's best vineyards.

Bird enthusiasts should visit nearby Cape Kidnapper Gannet Reserve: Gannets (related to pelicans) nest there October-April. It's a long walk down the beach to the colony, although tractors towing trailers often provide rides for visitors. If you choose to walk, keep an eye on the tide: the cliffs are too high and crumbling to climb.

The other famous attraction in Napier is the world-renowned Cape Kidnappers golf course, which boasts spectacular cliff top views.

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