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Family Fun

Things to do for free in Napier

  • 4 minutes

Napier, New Zealand

Sunny Hawke’s Bay vies with Nelson in the summer stakes as the place bathed in warm summer sunshine.

Marine Parade Sound Shell with colonnade, Norfolk Pines and city deco style buildings behind, Napier, New Zealand
Marine Parade Sound Shell


A walk along the parade is a must-do as it embraces pretty much everything that is Napier from the Masonic art deco hotel gracing the waterfront to Marine Parade Arch framing the story of the devastating Napier earthquake. Places to go include children’s playgrounds, sunken gardens, fountains and flowers.


Sunny Hawke’s Bay is an invitation to a beach party and Napier’s local beach, Port Sandy Bay is a local favourite with shallow, sheltered waters or the Wesshore Beach Reserve with its playground and beach facilities. In the peak season there are lifeguards on duty.

Beach at Napier, New Zealand
Beach at Napier
Botanical Gardens scenic reserve in Napier Hawkes Bay New Zealand a formal garden established in 1874
Napier Botanical Gardens


The Botanical Gardens are located on top of Hospital Hill and have maintained the heritage 19th century design of the gardens. A delightful suburban haven with splendid city views. The Centennial Gardens, the northern end of Marine Parade on Bluff Hill, has an impressive waterfall. Centennial Gardens are a short step or two to BLUFF HILL LOOKOUT. The Bluff Hill lookout offers views out to the Mahia Peninsula where Rocket Lab launches into space. The enormous sweep of Sandy Bay is evident with the Norfolk pines a clear guideline. Check for more information about Gardens and Parks in the Hawke’s Bay.


Napier is a walkable city with key art deco and Spanish Mission architecture threaded throughout the city centre. Grab a guide from the Visitor Centre (a small charge may apply) and get going. You will pass plenty of cafes and coffee carts ready to refresh and revive.

Art Deco Masonic Hotel building in Napier, New Zealand
Art Deco Masonic Hotel building in Napier


Browse, grab a coffee and foodie treats while listening to live music. As befitting one of New Zealand’s fruit bowls where there is plenty of fresh produce, artisan goods and stalls to pick up goods direct from the owner / operators. Scrumptious ready to go snacks are the makings of a picnic feast. Want to get out of Napier and explore, Check out Day trip from Napier to Havelock North for more foodie places to visit.


The Faraday Centre is an interactive exhibition space for the Museum of Technology offers very reasonable entrance fees. It is great when visitors are encouraged to clamber onboard a vintage tram or vehicle, turn and pull levers to discover how the mechanism works. Definitely it is value for money when plenty to ponder over.


MTG Hawke’s Bay

A marvellous collection telling the story of Napier and the wider Hawke’s Bay has FREE entry. Check when the free tours of the exhibits are running and turn up. The museum specialises in art, culture and social history. MTG is a great spot to obtain souvenirs of your visit with a gift shop well stocked with cards, printed art, books and collectables. There are now over 90,000 objects being cared for by MTG.


Check the online collections for areas of interest.


Church Road Winery is one of the oldest wineries in New Zealand (1897) with over 125 years of winemaking experience. The beautiful grounds are open to the public. Mission Estate Winery is another heritage vineyard and winery that is free to enter. Mission Estate, with its elevated position offers a pastoral view of vineyards and view the Grande Maison, an elegantly restored seminary building where monks in the 19th century resided. For wine trail buffs these are outstanding vineyards on the must-go list. For tastings, bookings are required and there could be an admission fee.



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