Deco Delights in Napier
A visit to Napier had been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, a city full of pastel buildings and art-deco structures was like a New Zealand siren song for me. Planning our trip around the North Island was finally the time to get in a visit to such a gorgeous and historic city! The biggest drawcard for most visitors to Napier is its immaculately preserved 1930s architecture; one of the biggest collections to be found in the whole world (Miami, Florida is the only rival with a similar concentration). A devastating earthquake razed most of Napier and the surrounding Hawke’s Bay area in 1931, meaning rebuilding had to start from scratch. Building a city in the 1930s mirrored a lot of the styles popular at the time, such as Spanish Mission and Art Deco — and to visit today feels like stepping back in time.
Zig-zags, stripes, terrazo, and pastel tones abound around Napier, my personal idea of heaven! We spent an all-too brief couple of days in Napier on our trip around New Zealand, but managed to squeeze in a lot of the highlights. I’d love to come back sometime for a guided tour, and to find even more of the amazing architecture. The black sand and pebbled beach is also a fascination to see.
Napier also features in my new book Hello, New Zealand! with nods to the aquarium, the buildings and the beaches!
Planning your own trip to Napier? Here’s what you shouldn’t miss!
Donut Robot — the sweetest donut van that can be tricky to find, and trickier to catch when it’s open! If you do come across it while in Napier be sure to give it a try — housed inside a delightful peachy teardrop caravan, adorable!
Picnic Bakery — tucked inside an industrial park, this bakery can be a little tricky to find, but worth the visit for a chocolate croissant or slice of cake
Napier Antique & Jewellery Centre — a sprawling antique store with well priced pieces to suit every style and budget. Watches, rings, sunglasses, cameras and assorted bric-a-brac, the go to for a special souvenir from your time in town
The beautiful buildings around Napier can be enjoyed on your own walking tour. The Art Deco Trust has maps for walking and driving tours (self guided) available. My favourite art-deco building to visit was the National Tobacco Company Building, a must see while in Napier!
The Art Deco Masonic Hotel — a gorgeous piece of history across from the water. Lovely rooms, and friendly staff, the perfect way to immerse yourself into the art-deco wonderland