In addition to exploring wine country we also rented bikes and rode along the coast in Napier which was unreal. Their beaches run for miles and miles, all untouched and barely used due to the very heavy and strong surf here. Even the locals told us they won't swim or surf in the waters - it's just too dangerous. Stunning to look at though for us tourists!
Napier is a small town, and I would definitely suggest coming during the summer when I hear it's busier and more lively. We were there in their winter making it a bit too sleepy of a town for me, with everything closing down at around 8 or 9pm. However, we were still able to enjoy the sights and rented bikes to ride along the coast and into their downtown.
Similar to Christchurch, Napier was hit with some awful earthquakes 15+ years ago and when they rebuilt they went for an Art Decco style making it one of the most unique towns we saw along our NZ adventure.
Following 1 night in Napier we were on our way north to Hamilton & Auckland stopping off at the beautiful Lake Taupo on the way.
This reminded me very much of Tahoe...just a bit more upscale with beautiful shops & restaurants, bustling downtown and surrounded by 5-star lodges and resorts. If we make it back to NZ this place is on my list.
Next and final on our NZ travels is the city of Auckland, see you kids tomorrow.
xo - margaret