10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Napier


Enjoy Napier on a Budget

You don’t have to break the bank to have an awesome time in the city of Napier. Napier is a city home to and surrounded by free natural attractions, walks, museums and things to do that cost under NZ$25. If you’re travelling on a budget or trying to save money in Napier while working in the area, then this list of free and cheap things to do in Napier is for you!

Explore Maori cultural sites, visit the city museum, climb to viewpoints and more in Napier city and close-by so you won’t even need to spend too much of fuel or transport to enjoy these Napier activities. While you’re at it, save money on accommodation by staying on of these 10 Best Budget Accommodation in Napier and 8 Best Backpacker Hostels in Napier and Hastings.

1. Take a Walk Along Marine Parade – FREE

This is a great place to start if you’re new to the city. A walkway along Marine Parade offers awesome beach views and plenty of water features and statues to keep things interesting. It’s a free activity easily accessible from the city centre.

Location: Marine Parade.©

2. Visit Otatara Pa – FREE

With Maori carvings and the remains of Hawke’s Bay’s once most sought pa site (Maori fortified village), Otatara Pa is an extremely interesting place to visit. A 45-minute walk around the reserve offers some amazing examples of a historic pa site, as well as breathtaking views of Napier, the coast and all the way inland to Mt Ruapehu on a clear day. The Otatara Pa is free to visit.

Location: 10.4km (6.5 miles) from Napier. Otatara Pa is in Taradale. Follow Gloucester Road south onto Springfield Junction where Otarata Pa is signposted.

Barb Nicolle on Wikipedia© Barb Nicolle on Wikipedia

3. Pop in MTG Hawke’s Bay – FREE

MTG Hawke’s Bay is the official museum for the Hawke’s Bay region and a great place to learn about the region’s European and Maori history. The centre is also home to several art galleries and even a theatre so you can definitely kill an hour or so soaking in the culture. Entry into MTG Hawke’s Bay is free.

Location: 1 Tennyson Street, Napier©

4. Get Awesome Views from Te Mata Peak – FREE

If you don’t mind using a little bit of fuel to get there, Te Mata Peak is another fantastic free attraction near Napier. The park surrounding its iconic 399m (1,309 miles) peak is full of walking and mountain biking trails meaning that you can spend a good couple of hours enjoying the great outdoors! For more walks in the area, see 10 Wonderful Walks in Hawke’s Bay.

Location: 27km (17 miles) from Napier. Te Mata Peak, Tuki Tuki.

ravelNZ - New Zealand in your pocket on Flickr© ravelNZ® - New Zealand in your pocket™ on Flickr

5. Check Out the Napier Urban Farmers Market – FREE

This activity is only as cheap as how much you end up spending. However, you can enjoy the Napier Urban Farmers’ Market as a free and cheap experience in Napier with lots of free tastings and entertainment through street performers. Catch the market every Saturday 9am-1pm. Alternatively, there is the Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market in Hastings every Sunday 8.30am-12.30pm.

Location: Clive Square.©

6. Take a Self-guided Art Deco Tour – CHEAP

If you haven’t heard already, Napier is sort of into art deco! A great way to learn about why Napier is built with art deco architecture and get an insight into the history is to take a self-guided art deco tour. Pick up a brochure from the Art Deco Centre (around NZ$7.50) and start your tour. Alternatively, there are plenty of interpretation panels around the city that you can check out while you are walking around the city.

Location: Napier City Centre.©

7. Climb Bluff Hill – FREE

Bluff Hill is Napier’s best vantage point in the city centre. Walk or drive all the way to the Bluff Hill Lookout with views over Napier city and the Port of Napier. Check out the World War 2 Battery Plaque or seating and garden area. The lookout is about 7 minutes drive/35 minutes walk from the city centre.

Location: End of Lighthouse Road, Bluff Hill, Napier.©

8. Explore Napier Prison – CHEAP

At around NZ$20 for a self-guided audio tour, Napier Prison is one of the great cheap things to do in Napier. It’s also one of the 10 Seriously Spooky and Haunted Places in New Zealand as it’s New Zealand’s oldest prison. Hear stories of famous New Zealand inmates and visit the Hanging Yard with Gallows, Earthquake Room, Graveyard, Solitary Confinement and more!

Location: 55 Coote Road, Bluff Hill.©

9. Do the Cape Kidnappers Walk – FREE

You can always rely on a hike in New Zealand to be a fun free thing to do! If you don’t mind driving a little out of town, Cape Kidnappers is a fantastic day walk (5-6 hours return) from the small village of Clifton. See the awe-inspiring layers of rock and fossils towering on the cliffs leading up to Cape Kidnappers, ending with an awesome view of coastal points and the world’s largest mainland gannet colony upon reaching Cape Kidnappers. This walk only available at low tide so time your walk well! Plus, the cliffs are subject to landslips and rockfall, so it’s best to keep on moving. Get more ideas like this at Top 10 Natural Attractions in Hawke’s Bay.

Location: 23km (14 miles) from Napier. Take State Highway 2 then turn onto Mill Road just after Clive. Continue toward Clifton.©

10. Grab Some Cheap Eats (and Drinks) – CHEAP

Hawke’s Bay produces some of New Zealand’s top food and drink in their vineyards and fruit orchards. Unsurprisingly, Napier city is the perfect place to try this local produce in the bars and eateries. Check out some cheap eats listed in The Guide to Napier on a Budget.

Location: Napier City.©

More About Napier

That’s it for our list of cheap and free things to do in Napier. For more free stuff, check out the 50 Best Free Things to Do in New Zealand.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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