The Guide to Napier on a Budget© Unsplash
The Guide to Napier on a Budget

The Travel Guide to Napier on a Budget

© Unsplash
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Article Single Pages©
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How to Plan a Trip to Napier on a Budget

The answer is: “easily”. With almost all of Napier’s main attractions either free or cost very little, as well as having plenty of choice for hostels, motels and holiday parks, you don’t need to worry too much about going over budget. You can still learn about Napier’s art deco architecture and history through a guided city walk or at the free museum, as well as tour a wine museum and taste famous wines on affordable winery tours. As for natural attractions like Te Mata Peak and historical sites like Otatara Pa, these are more free things to do. All you need to do is get to these scattered city attractions, but with public buses, affordable bike hire and with most of you exploring New Zealand in your own vehicle, getting to them isn’t much of an issue.

So check out the affordable activities, the cheap accommodations and even budget-friendly eateries in this travel guide to Napier on a budget.

Budget Tips for Napier

  • Visit in the low season (May to September) to find deals on accommodation and activities
  • Be aware that many attractions are around 20km (12 miles) from Napier so it is handy to have a car or hire a bike!
  • Public buses run between Napier and Hastings offering another way to get around on the cheap
  • Stay in one of the budget accommodations – they’re still pretty cool!
  • Make sure your accommodation has self-catering facilities if you want to save money by making your own meals
  • Most of the main attractions are free or cheap in Napier.

For more general money-saving advice, check out the 11 Ways to Save Money When Backpacking in New Zealand.

The Guide to Napier on a Budget© Unsplash

Free Activities in Napier

Experience some of Napier’s main attractions without having to spend a dime! The regional museum for Hawke’s Bay, MTG Hawke’s Bay (1 Tennyson Street) is free to visit, containing all sorts of historical exhibitions and artwork to admire. Learn about the local Maori culture through their taonga (treasures) and about the famous earthquake that ravaged the city in 1931 in the museum’s ongoing exhibitions. There is also an ever-changing array of temporary exhibits on local art, heirlooms, nature and more.

One of the main natural attractions of the Hawke’s Bay region is just a short drive from Napier, Te Mata Peak. Either walk or drive to the top where you’ll not only get to appreciate the views of the jagged mountaintop but of the surrounding Hawke’s Bay region. If you travel with a mountain bike, get it out here and enjoy the bike trails too! Learn more in the 10 Wonderful Walks in Hawke’s Bay.

And for a combination of history and great views, check out Otatara Pa. This historic Maori settlement is one of the oldest and largest in Hawke’s Bay with outstanding views of Napier and out to Cape Kidnappers. See distinct terraces, dwelling sites and food storage pits of the old pa site, as well as wooden palisades to give more of a vivid clue on what this highly prized pa site would have once looked like.

For more information on these activities, as well as more suggestions, check out the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Napier.

The Guide to Napier on a Budget©

Cheap Activities in Napier

If you have more buck in your budget, then there are some other activities well worth trying for an affordable fee. For instance, learn about the intriguing art deco architecture and history of Napier on a guided walking tour with the Art Deco Trust. After an introductory film on the 1931 Napier earthquake, you’ll be guided to Napier’s most prominent art deco buildings. Learn more about the Art Deco Trust tour on Viator or Tripadvisor.

An affordable way to explore Napier while having fun is on a self-guided bike tour. Hire bikes from Napier City Bike Hire & Tours and enjoy a full day cycling from town to town, following the pre-designed route maps covering an array of diverse attractions. Check out the offerings of Napier City Bike Hire & Tours on Viator and Tripadvisor.

And to discover more about the famous winemaking region of Hawke’s Bay, enjoy an affordable winery tour with the Church Road Winery Cellar Door & Restaurant. Their Legacy and Winery Experience is their best-value tour where you’ll sample pre-release wines before they’re available to the public. Then you’ll tour the barrel halls and historical “cave” museum before finishing off with an in-depth wine tasting. Learn more about Church Road’s winery tours on Viator or Tripadvisor.

For more ideas, see the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Napier.

The Guide to Napier on a Budget©

Cheap Eats in Napier

From sweet treats to cosy cafes to street food-style takeaways, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy a foodie experience in Napier on the cheap. A combination of all of the above can be found at Faith Hope Love Malaysian Eatery (105 Marine Parade) serving all sorts of Malaysian specialities, as well as Kiwi favourites like savoury pies.

For good coffee, pies and pastries, head to the Crazy Good Coffee Shop (87 Bridge Street) or the Orbit Cafe (36 Gloucester). And for classic New Zealand eats, try Jesters Pies (187 Emerson Street) and Hawkes Bay Seafoods (Corner of Pandora and West Quay).

For dessert or a naughty midday treat, head to Lick This (290 Marine Parade) or Gelato2U (101 Marine Parade) scooping a dizzying array of ice creams and desserts. The Donut Robot caravan (89 Tennyson Street) is also worth seeking out for their deep-fried deliciousness.

For more recommendations, check out The Foodie Guide to Napier.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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