7 Unusual Things To Do In Napier New Zealand – 2024 Ultimate Guide

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Napier, New Zealand, is a charming coastal city renowned for its Art Deco architecture and stunning vineyards. However, beyond the usual tourist attractions, there are plenty of unusual things to do in Napier New Zealand that will make your visit truly memorable. From exploring the eerie gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers to indulging in a traditional Māori hangi feast, Napier offers a range of unique experiences for adventurous travelers. Whether you’re seeking off-the-beaten-path adventures or quirky cultural encounters, Napier has something special in store for you.

Explore the Art Deco architecture

Essential Information

– Address: Napier, New Zealand
– Opening Hours: Varies depending on the specific attraction
– Fee: Some attractions are free, while guided tours may have a fee
– Visit Duration: Half-day to full-day
– Ideal for: History buffs, architecture enthusiasts, photographers

Why is it so unusual

When it comes to exploring Art Deco architecture, Napier in New Zealand stands out as a unique destination. The city’s distinctive architectural style, which emerged after a devastating earthquake in 1931, offers visitors a glimpse into a bygone era. What makes exploring Napier’s Art Deco architecture so unusual are the following activities:

1. Art Deco Guided Walking Tours: Delve into the history and design principles of Art Deco with a guided walking tour around Napier. Learn about the significance of the architectural style and discover hidden gems that showcase the city’s unique character.

2. Vintage Car Tours: Experience the glamour of the 1930s by taking a vintage car tour through Napier’s Art Deco district. Ride in style as you cruise past iconic buildings and landmarks, immersing yourself in the elegance of the era.

3. Art Deco Weekend Festival: If you happen to visit Napier during the annual Art Deco Weekend Festival, you’re in for a treat. Witness the city come alive with vintage cars, fashion shows, live music, and dance performances, all celebrating the Art Deco heritage in a vibrant and festive atmosphere.

4. Art Deco Shopping: Explore boutique stores and galleries in Napier that specialize in Art Deco-inspired merchandise. From retro fashion to vintage homeware, you can find unique souvenirs that capture the essence of the era.

5. Art Deco Masonic Hotel: Step back in time by staying at the Art Deco Masonic Hotel, a beautifully restored heritage building that exudes old-world charm. Enjoy a luxurious stay surrounded by Art Deco furnishings and decor, offering a truly immersive experience.

In conclusion, Napier’s Art Deco architecture offers a one-of-a-kind journey through history, where visitors can engage in a range of unusual activities that showcase the city’s rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re a history buff, architecture enthusiast, or simply looking for a unique travel experience, exploring Napier’s Art Deco architecture is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Visit the National Aquarium of New Zealand

Essential Information

– Address: 546 Marine Parade, Napier South, Napier 4110, New Zealand
– Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily
– Fee: Adults $20, Children (3-14) $10, Under 3 free
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Families, marine life enthusiasts

Why is it so unusual

The National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier offers a unique experience for visitors seeking more than just a typical aquarium visit. What sets this attraction apart are the unusual activities and exhibits that await guests.

One of the standout features is the opportunity to participate in a behind-the-scenes tour, where visitors can witness the inner workings of the aquarium and learn about the care and conservation efforts that go into maintaining the diverse marine life on display. This hands-on experience provides a deeper understanding of the delicate ecosystem that the aquarium strives to protect.

For those looking for a more interactive experience, the aquarium offers the chance to feed some of the resident marine animals. From feeding the playful penguins to hand-feeding the majestic stingrays, these encounters allow visitors to get up close and personal with the fascinating creatures that call the aquarium home.

Another unusual highlight is the chance to participate in a shark dive experience. Brave souls can don a wetsuit and dive into the predator tank, coming face to face with these magnificent creatures in a safe and controlled environment. This thrilling adventure is sure to leave a lasting impression on adrenaline-seeking visitors.

Overall, the National Aquarium of New Zealand stands out as an unusual tourist attraction due to its emphasis on interactive experiences and unique opportunities for visitors to engage with marine life in a hands-on way. Whether you’re a marine enthusiast or simply looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure, this aquarium offers a memorable and educational experience for all who visit.

Take a guided tour of the Napier Prison

Essential Information

– Address: 55 Coote Road, Bluff Hill, Napier 4110, New Zealand
– Opening Hours: Tours available daily, check website for specific times
– Fee: Adults $25, Children $10
– Visit Duration: Approximately 1.5 hours
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts, thrill-seekers, families

Why is it so unusual

When visiting Napier, New Zealand, one might not expect a former prison to be a top tourist attraction. However, the Napier Prison offers a unique and somewhat eerie experience that sets it apart from the typical tourist spots in the area.

As you take a guided tour of the Napier Prison, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the dark and haunting corridors that once housed notorious criminals. The tour guides, often former prison guards or historians, will regale you with chilling tales of the prison’s past, including daring escapes, violent incidents, and the harsh conditions that inmates endured.

One of the most unusual activities offered at the Napier Prison is the chance to participate in a paranormal investigation. With its long history of suffering and tragedy, the prison is said to be a hotspot for paranormal activity. Visitors can use ghost-hunting equipment such as EMF meters and EVP recorders to try and capture evidence of spirits lingering within the prison walls.

For those seeking a more hands-on experience, the Napier Prison also offers special events like overnight ghost hunts. Imagine spending the night locked inside a former prison, surrounded by the echoes of its dark past. It’s an experience that is sure to send shivers down your spine and leave you with lasting memories.

So, if you’re looking for a truly unusual and spine-tingling experience in Napier, don’t miss the opportunity to take a guided tour of the Napier Prison. It’s a journey into the depths of history and the unknown that you won’t soon forget.

Discover the Pania of the Reef statue

Essential Information

– Address: Marine Parade, Napier, New Zealand
– Opening Hours: 24/7
– Fee: Free
– Visit Duration: 30 minutes
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts, art lovers

Why is it so unusual

The Pania of the Reef statue in Napier, New Zealand, stands out as an unusual tourist attraction due to its intriguing folklore and unique design. Unlike traditional statues, Pania of the Reef is a mythical figure from Maori legend, adding a touch of mystique to the site. Visitors can marvel at the striking combination of human and marine elements in the statue, symbolizing the connection between land and sea.

One of the unusual activities you can engage in at the Pania of the Reef statue is to learn about the captivating story behind this iconic figure. According to Maori legend, Pania was a beautiful maiden who fell in love with the sea and transformed into a reef to be with her underwater lover. This tale adds a layer of enchantment to the statue, making it a must-visit for those interested in local folklore.

Another unique aspect of the Pania of the Reef statue is its role as a symbol of resilience and cultural heritage. As you admire the intricate details of the sculpture, take a moment to reflect on the enduring spirit of the Maori people and their deep connection to the natural world. This site serves as a reminder of the rich history and traditions that continue to shape the identity of New Zealand.

In addition to its cultural significance, the Pania of the Reef statue offers a picturesque backdrop for photography enthusiasts. Capture the beauty of this iconic landmark against the backdrop of the sparkling sea, creating lasting memories of your visit to Napier. Whether you’re a history buff, art lover, or simply curious traveler, exploring the Pania of the Reef statue is sure to be a memorable and enriching experience.

Experience a tractor ride to Cape Kidnappers

Essential Information

– Address: Clifton, Hawke’s Bay, Napier, New Zealand
– Opening Hours: Tours usually start in the morning and last for about 4-5 hours
– Fee: Prices vary but typically range from $150-$200 per person
– Visit Duration: Half-day excursion
– Ideal for: Nature enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and wildlife lovers

Why is it so unusual

When it comes to exploring the rugged beauty of New Zealand’s coastline, a tractor ride to Cape Kidnappers offers a truly unique experience. What sets this attraction apart is the unconventional mode of transportation – a vintage tractor that takes visitors on a thrilling journey along the stunning cliffs and expansive beaches of Cape Kidnappers.

As you board the sturdy tractor, you’ll feel the excitement building as you set off on a bumpy ride across the rugged terrain. The journey itself is an adventure, with the tractor navigating through rocky paths and sandy shores, providing a close-up view of the dramatic coastal landscape.

One of the highlights of the tractor ride is the chance to witness the impressive Cape Kidnappers gannet colony up close. These majestic seabirds make their home on the cliffs, and watching them soar overhead or dive into the ocean is a sight to behold. The experience of observing these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat is truly unforgettable.

In addition to the gannets, the tractor ride also offers opportunities to spot other wildlife, such as seals and dolphins, adding an element of surprise and excitement to the excursion. The ever-changing coastal scenery, from towering cliffs to secluded coves, provides a picturesque backdrop for the entire journey.

Overall, a tractor ride to Cape Kidnappers stands out as an unusual tourist attraction due to its combination of adventure, wildlife encounters, and breathtaking scenery. It offers a unique way to explore the beauty of New Zealand’s coastline and create lasting memories of an unforgettable experience.

Wander through the Sunken Gardens

Essential Information

– Address: 18 Herschell Street, Napier, New Zealand
– Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily
– Fee: Free entry
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, photography enthusiasts

Why is it so unusual

When exploring Napier, New Zealand, one of the most unusual yet captivating attractions is the Sunken Gardens. What sets this garden apart is its unique design and the array of activities it offers visitors.

As you wander through the Sunken Gardens, you’ll come across a variety of unusual features that make this spot a must-visit. One of the highlights is the interactive sound garden, where visitors can create music by interacting with different elements scattered throughout the garden. This immersive experience is perfect for those looking to engage their senses in a new and exciting way.

For the more adventurous traveler, the Sunken Gardens also offer a hidden maze that challenges visitors to find their way through a labyrinth of greenery. This unconventional twist on a traditional garden maze adds an element of mystery and fun to your visit.

Additionally, the Sunken Gardens host regular outdoor yoga sessions, allowing visitors to connect with nature while practicing mindfulness and relaxation. This unique offering provides a serene setting for yoga enthusiasts to unwind and rejuvenate.

Whether you’re seeking a tranquil escape or a bit of adventure, the Sunken Gardens in Napier, New Zealand, offers a truly unusual experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who visit.

Discover the secrets of the Napier Cemetery

Essential Information

– Address: Napier Cemetery, 82 Westshore Road, Napier, New Zealand
– Opening Hours: Daily from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
– Fee: Free entry
– Visit Duration: Approximately 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts, curious travelers

Why is it so unusual

The Napier Cemetery may not be your typical tourist attraction, but it holds a unique charm for those willing to explore its secrets. What sets this cemetery apart is not just its historical significance, but also the unusual activities it offers visitors.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the Napier Cemetery is the guided night tours that take place on select evenings. Imagine wandering through the rows of headstones under the moonlight, listening to chilling tales of the past from knowledgeable guides. This eerie experience is not for the faint of heart but is sure to leave a lasting impression.

For those interested in the paranormal, the Napier Cemetery is rumored to be a hotspot for ghost sightings and supernatural phenomena. Many visitors have reported strange occurrences and unexplained phenomena while exploring the grounds after dark. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the cemetery’s mysterious atmosphere is bound to pique your curiosity.

If you’re a fan of history, the Napier Cemetery offers a unique glimpse into the past through its well-preserved gravestones and monuments. Take a leisurely stroll through the grounds and uncover the stories of the pioneers, settlers, and prominent figures buried here. Each headstone tells a tale of Napier’s rich history, making it a fascinating destination for history buffs.

In addition to its historical and supernatural allure, the Napier Cemetery also hosts special events and themed tours throughout the year. From Halloween night tours to historical reenactments, there’s always something unusual happening at this offbeat attraction. Whether you’re seeking a spooky adventure or a glimpse into the past, the Napier Cemetery promises a one-of-a-kind experience that you won’t soon forget.

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