Things to Do in Napier
New Zealand produces some of the world’s most renowned, award-winning wines, and Mission Estate Winery on the outskirts of Napier is where it all began. Founded in 1851, Mission Estate was started by missionaries who journeyed from France with little more than a dream and a couple of vines. Now, nearly two centuries later, Mission Estate continues to operate as one of New Zealand’s best wineries, and is a staple on any shore excursion or wine tasting tour of Napier.
Head down the tree lined driveway toward the old fashioned estate and its fountain, and you'll immediately fall for the history and regal charm of the area. Step outside on the hilltop veranda for a view of the vineyard landscapes leading back to Napier’s downtown or to sip in the sun protected by the shade of one of the winery's big, white outdoor umbrellas.
Like a stone monastery rising up from the vines of Napier’s fertile plains, Church Road Winery is one of the oldest and finest Hawke’s Bay wineries. Established in 1897, this vineyard was the first in all of New Zealand to release a Cabernet Sauvignon, and when bottles hit shelves in 1949 they were instant New Zealand classics. Fast-forward over half a century, and Church Road Winery has been completely renovated and is still one of Napier’s best. Aside from the a la carte restaurant on site and imposing cellar door, where rows of wine barrels stand in for pews you might find in a dimly lit church, one of the best parts of visiting Church Road winery are the daily cellar tours. Learn the history of Church Road Winery and the time-honed winemaking process, and pair the wines with succulent foods in an intimate, boutique tasting area. You’ll also find a wine museum beneath the tasting area, where some of the country’s oldest wine relics are housed in concrete vats. Throughout the tour you can talk with the staff about wine and the Hawke’s Bayterroir, and elevate your level of wine expertise at one of New Zealand’s best wineries.