TEN Good Things about Cruising into the Port of Napier, New Zealand
- No tender boats necessary. Walk down the cruise ship gangplank to awaiting shuttle buses and taxi cabs. (You can’t walk out of this port though; have New Zealand money handy.)
- Trip into Napier is very affordable. And very quick. $4/person via cruise shuttle bus or $10NZ for a cab. Trip is about 5 minutes.
- Napier town has something for everyone. Miniature golf, great shopping, restaurants, an ocean spa, a museum, botanical gardens, a skate park, and great architectural scenery (Napier’s downtown was destroyed in a fire in 1931, so rebuilding was done in Art Deco style.)
- Easy affordable access to the Internet via email cafes in the city centre area. $2/15 minutes.
- Golf course nearby. Just grab a cab and you’ll be there in less than 15 minutes.
- Taxi drivers and tour operators actually like their guests, and aren’t just in it for the tips. (Our driver, Splinter, was surprised by our tip – he told us he rarely got one. That’s too bad, because it certainly wasn’t due to any lack on his part.)
- Marine Parade – This is Napier’s great main street. Spend your entire day just walking this stretch of land which hugs the coast. Beautiful views and great exercise.
- Olive Branch Bread Company – If you like freshly baked bread, this is a MUST-visit bakery. It’s located on Hastings Street just down from the Visitor’s Centre. My mouth is watering at the memory of this bakery’s crescent-shaped, black olive and rosemary bedecked, candied fried onions-stuffed, loaf of bread. You must visit early in the day – breads are sold out by mid-afternoon.
- Sail away is a blast. Set sail to the sounds of a Dixie band, and a show and shine of a ½ dozen vintage cars, complete with drivers in period dress (local volunteers). It’s fun to watch the maneuverings of the tug boat as it nudges the giant cruise ship into position to make its way safely out of its very narrow slip and back into the harbor.
- WINE! If you are a wine lover, grab a cab; there are over 50 wineries in the area, like the Mission Estate Winery, New Zealand’s oldest winery shown below.
Napier, New Zealand might be considered the perfect cruise ship port-of-call. But don’t take my word for it – go visit for yourself.