Napier’s Art Deco delights.
You can truly step back in time in Hawke’s Bay, a 100km peninsula that runs along the east coast on New Zealand’s north island. A devastating earthquake flattened the region in 1931, and the town of Napier was rebuilt entirely in the period’s Art Deco style – an architectural feat that remains to this day.
The award-winning Art Deco Masonic Hotel was recently redeveloped and sits on Napier’s waterfront. Use this as a base to explore the Hawke’s Bay area, which doubles as New Zealand’s second largest wine region. Drop into one of the 70-odd wineries that specialise in cabernet, merlot, syrah and chardonnay.
To truly immerse yourself in the region’s history, book a trip for February when the annual Art Deco Weekend festival takes over the town. More than 40,000 people flock to participate in 200-odd events that celebrate all things 1930s, including dinner-dance extravaganzas, outdoor concerts, vintage car parades and fashion shows.
Taking to Napier on foot is cheap and cheerful, plus you can stop in the official Art Deco Centre shop for your own retro treasure. There are guided tours in the morning, afternoon and evening (starting from $19) or, if you prefer to fly solo, download your own self-guided brochure for only $10 (artdeconapier.com).