Napier Prison

Napier Prison showing heritage elements

Napier Prison

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Enter spooky cells and hear terrifying tales about some of the nation’s most notorious criminals in one of the oldest prisons in New Zealand.

Step into the cells of a convicted offender and discover what life was really like at the haunting penal complex of Napier Prison. Visit the chilling isolation cells and trudge toward the site of the old gallows where criminals were once hanged.

Napier Prison first opened in 1862 and housed some of New Zealand’s most dangerous criminals until it closed in 1993. Between 2002 and 2007 it served as a hostel where brave backpackers could spend a night in the cells. Overnight stays are no longer offered so come for a daytrip to this fabled prison instead.

Once you are within the thick stone walls that surround the complex, head for the sinisterly named Pound. This is where the most unstable inmates were detained. Among the prisoners held here were the likes of murderer Haira Te Piri and drug lord Terry Clark. Find out more about what made these men so evil and look for graffiti that other prisoners left on the walls as a lasting reminder of their time here.

As you wander down the long, dark halls, notice the crooked floors and cracked ceilings. This is some of remaining damage from the Hawke’s Bay earthquake of 1931. Be on alert for Basil, the ghostly cat who spends his days patrolling the prison.

Before you plan your escape, walk out to the old hanging yard. This now features just a drawn outline where the gallows once stood; however, an ominous aura remains. Listen to stories about the unfortunate souls who were executed here and admire the colourful painted murals on the walls around you. These contrast starkly with the gloomy décor elsewhere.

Napier Prison is positioned on Bluff Hill near the coast. Enjoy a self-guided audio tour or book online in advance if you would prefer to be shown around by a member of staff. Minimum numbers apply for guided tours. The prison is open daily and there is an admission fee.

Top Hotels Close to Napier Prison

Beach Front Motel Napier
Beach Front Motel Napier
4 out of 5
373 Marine Parade, Napier, 4110
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $87 per night from Jun 8 to Jun 9
Stay at this 4-star beach motel in Napier. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and private spa tubs. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the spacious rooms in ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (651 reviews)
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Reviewed on Apr 30, 2022

Beach Front Motel Napier
Pebble Beach Motor Inn
Pebble Beach Motor Inn
4.5 out of 5
445 Marine Parade, Napier, 4110
Stay at this 4.5-star beach motel in Napier. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and indoor private spa tubs. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean rooms ...
4.8/5 Exceptional! (405 reviews)
"Staff were great, very helpful. Beautiful motel to stay at, lots of space, great views from the top floor. Lift was a bit slow. Our room had lots of space. I thought I’d booked a 2brm unit but the king bed was in living room with large spa bath. Then there was a separate smaller room with 2 single ..."

Reviewed on May 15, 2022

Pebble Beach Motor Inn
Scenic Hotel Te Pania
Scenic Hotel Te Pania
4 out of 5
45 Marine Parade, Napier South, Napier, 4110
The price is $140 per night from May 29 to May 30
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly hotel in Napier. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and breakfast. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the convenient parking ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (982 reviews)
"Great location, easy walk into town or along the beach front ."

Reviewed on Apr 27, 2022

Scenic Hotel Te Pania
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near Napier Prison

The Nautilus Napier
The Nautilus Napier
4 out of 5
387 Marine Parade, Napier, 4110
The price is $80 per night from May 29 to May 30
The Nautilus Napier
Pebble Beach Motor Inn
Pebble Beach Motor Inn
4.5 out of 5
445 Marine Parade, Napier, 4110
Pebble Beach Motor Inn
Beach Front Motel Napier
Beach Front Motel Napier
4 out of 5
373 Marine Parade, Napier, 4110
The price is $87 per night from Jun 8 to Jun 9
Beach Front Motel Napier
Scenic Hotel Te Pania
Scenic Hotel Te Pania
4 out of 5
45 Marine Parade, Napier South, Napier, 4110
The price is $140 per night from May 29 to May 30
Scenic Hotel Te Pania
Edgewater Motor Lodge
Edgewater Motor Lodge
4 out of 5
359 Marine Parade, Napier, 4110
The price is $84 per night from Jun 26 to Jun 27
Edgewater Motor Lodge
Art Deco Masonic Hotel
Art Deco Masonic Hotel
4.5 out of 5
2 Tennyson Street, Napier, 4110
The price is $94 per night from Jun 15 to Jun 16
Art Deco Masonic Hotel
Swiss-Belboutique Napier
Swiss-Belboutique Napier
5 out of 5
36 Munroe Street, Napier, 4110
The price is $101 per night from Jun 13 to Jun 14
Swiss-Belboutique Napier
Navigate Seaside Hotel
Navigate Seaside Hotel
4 out of 5
50 Waghorne Street, Ahuriri, Napier, 4110
The price is $112 per night from May 28 to May 29
Navigate Seaside Hotel
Quest Napier Serviced Apartment
Quest Napier Serviced Apartment
4.5 out of 5
176 Dickens Street, Napier, 4110
The price is $103 per night from Jun 26 to Jun 27
Quest Napier Serviced Apartment
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.