Napier is a seaside city on the far east of the country and is known for growing fantastic food and wine. The city is also famous for its unique art deco architecture which gives the feeling that you have travelled back to the 1930s.
Napier has a Mediterranean-style climate with long, fine summers with temperatures in the mid 20s degrees and short, mild winters. Its high sunshine hours and favourable winter and summer temperatures help make it the largest producer of pip and stone fruit and the second largest producer of wine grapes.
Napier public transport is generally modern, friendly and affordable. If you choose to use buses, there are two fare payment options - cash or goBay smartcard (approximately 20% cheaper than cash fares). A ticket with student ID will cost you around NZD1.90. Good news for keen cyclists as Hawke's Bay is becoming the cycling capital of New Zealand. Taking a cycle ride (rent a bike for NZD40 per day) is the easiest way to discover the things that Napier is most famous for - like Art Deco, wine and food, Cape Kidnappers gannet colony, tranquil bush and the amazing Rotary Pathway than spans over 40km. To make things easier for cyclists most of the goBay buses are fitted with bike racks. Never underestimate the power of your own feet – go for a walk around the town, it is compact, relatively flat and easy to navigate.
As it is a coastal town it means there are a few jobs available at cafes, bars and restaurants. Pay is usually a minimum NZD15.25 per hour. You can try something slightly different and apply for a fashion design assistant position (it is after all an Art Deco town!). If you love wine and have good knowledge about it, there are part-time jobs available in wine industry.
Hawke’s Bay region boosts a vast amount of orchards and vineyards in the area - harvesting pipfruit, stonefruit and grapes - and even the odd vegetable! The main time for seasonal work stretches from February to May each year. No two jobs are the same and can range from being out in the hot summer sun to inside in a pack-house, and everything in-between. Check the local website for job postings.
Renting a flat (a kiwi “house”) with other flatmates means you can get a fully furnished house and will have to share the common areas such as kitchen, living room and bathroom with other people (unless you are lucky to get an ensuite bathroom). Napier house rent prices vary from NZD150 to NZD200 per week including power and Internet. Perhaps you want a real 'kiwi experience'? Then we recommend a “homestay” option for you - a kiwi family offering a home away from home. You would have your own furnished room and meals provided (can be optional). It will cost you around USD650 per month.
Napier and Hawke's Bay have an interesting cultural and historical background, both pre and post-colonisation. The city’s biggest draw card, though, is its architecture. Napier challenges Miami for the title of Art Deco Capital of the World, and there are numerous examples of the style around the city centre. Napier also makes a good base for exploring many of the region’s top wineries, which are a short distance from the city limits. If you prefer beer then head to O’Flaherty’s - this is a rough-edged Irish pub with mismatched furniture and live bands Thursday to Saturday nights. For wildlife lovers we recommend National Aquarium of New Zealand. Inside this complex you can find piranhas, terrapins, eels, kiwi, tuatara and a whole lot of fish. Snorkelers can swim with sharks (NZD95), or sign up for a Little Penguin Close Encounter (NZD65).
Napier is a good choice if you love architecture, ocean and wineries. We can say no more.