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“worth the walk” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of National Aquarium

National Aquarium
Ranked #6 of 69 things to do in Napier
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Welcome to the national Aquarium, Marine Parade, Napier.Te Whare Tangaroa O Aotearoa New Zealand's largest display of aquatic life and unique New Zealand wildlife, including sharks, stingrays, living coral, kiwi, tuatara and a huge range of fish species. A fun and educational place to visit for all the family. Located in Napier, the National Aquarium is one of the premier Hawke's Bay Tourist Attractions. Opening Hours: Daily from 9.00am - 5.00pm, last entry 4:30pm, closed Christmas Day
Norwich, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
240 reviews
123 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
“worth the walk”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 23, 2012

We walked the length of the Parade in the wet but it was worth it to find this attraction. If you like walking under water with sharks and rays swimming over your head, this is for you. Kids love it!

Visited February 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank dinonorwich2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NationalAquariumHB, Manager at National Aquarium, responded to this review, January 1, 2013
Thanks very much for your feedback. We hope the weather improved during your stay in Napier. :)
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Cantraybridge
Level Contributor
54 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Wide variety of creatures here, a pleasure to visit.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 20, 2012

I really wanted to go to the aquarium, although it did look a bit small and I was skeptical it'd be all that interesting for a solo traveller like me, who generally prefers to be outdoors. However, I was very pleasantly surprised: there was a nice range of exhibits as well as tanks full of fish and other creatures to see, and I felt the collections (of shells, e.g., and of dinosaur fossils) were very well presented. I was also very happy to see a kiwi here: they're not exactly easy to spot in the wild, and I really enjoyed being able to spend a good amount of time watching the kiwi here feed in the dark. Lovely!
I really enjoyed the tuatara, too - and seeing the cute little blue penguins, who despite being rather unwilling to come out at feeding time(!), were still a pleasure to see. (I understand these animals don't exactly perform on demand, nor should they! I also appreciated that info about each individual penguin was provided in the area from which you could watch them, which was nice to see.)
For me, the highlight was actually the tunnel: I really love watching fish in that sort of setting, and while I agree with another reviewer's comments about the travelator not really being necessary (or especially eco!), I did see people using it! Oh, and my other highlight was the giant turtle: s/he was lovely!
The cafe was really nice in my experience, too (and I needed it, as I ended up staying in the aquarium for about 4 hours!): lovely cake and tea, and very friendly staff.
A thoroughly enjoyable day for me on my own; I imagine it would be really wonderful to be there with kids, too: plenty to see, and plenty variety too.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
Thank TankGrrrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NationalAquariumHB, Manager at National Aquarium, responded to this review, January 1, 2013
Looks can be deceiving. Although we are not the largest Aquarium by world standards, we provide a great range of exhibits including Kiwi and Tuatara. We appreciate your feedback regarding helpful staff; we always try to provide a memorable and enjoyable experience.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wellington, New Zealand
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Close to Napier central”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 17, 2012

Close to our accommodation. A great visit, with loads of children enjoying the sights. Very well done

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
Thank ChocSquirrel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NationalAquariumHB, Manager at National Aquarium, responded to this review, January 1, 2013
Glad the kids had a great time. The Aquarium is a great source of education for all age groups. Thanks for your feedback.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Essex, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
319 reviews
101 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 117 helpful votes
“Modern and seemingly attractive, but really a bit average overall ....”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 16, 2012

The 'offer' seems promising from the outside, but the $20 adult ticket is a bit steep and although it's only been open a decade infrastructure is showing signs of lack of investment. Tanks seemed small - and by today's standards the displays are a bit municipal in nature. There were no real 'wow' moments.

Much is made of the availability of digital resources, and indeed QR codes are available to scan on all displays. Unfortunately the WiFi did not work with my Apple iPhone 4S; the otherwise helpful assistant on duty said that the problem lay with my phone. Which is not a very customer-friendly response, especially as my phone works everywhere else. And the risk for the unwary is that without WiFi the downloads via 3G could be expensive.

On the positive side, we saw two Kiwis (why wouldn't you go to an aquarium to see flightless birds?). We also had rather distant views of 3 small Penguins. The underwater tunnel 'experience' is amusing (though the travelator is probably unnecessary to really enjoy the fish - they could switch off the moving floor, reduce the carbon footprint and save the revenue costs for investment elsewhere in the aquarium).

The location is a challenge - some distance from the town - and for some reason the architect placed the cafe on the side facing the road, rather than the ocean. A rather variable catering experience, too. Coffee ok, and a chocolate muffin was popular, but a 'chicken' sandwich was a tasteless 'fail'.

Not sure I'd bother again, but that's a shame as New Zealand has a really very powerful marine story to tell. Perhaps the place needs a bit of a management shake-up?

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
Thank Roy and Sarah C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NationalAquariumHB, Manager at National Aquarium, responded to this review, January 1, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to post comments. We value all feedback.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
63 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Catch the Penguin Feeding.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 9, 2012

If you get a chance try to time your visit to see the penguin feeding. They have 10 penguins and give an information session while they are feeding them, we caught it at 3:30pm. Very cute!

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
Thank mais26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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