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Short break in New Plymouth

A stunning Mount Taranaki dominates the plains of Taranaki making a great opening visual statement for the town. The mountain, the rolling hills, coastline and innovative architectural styles make this small town a favourite place for art and craft buffs to visit. While the town has 74,000 permanent residents New Plymouth and the surrounding Taranaki district has the heart of an international city with its cultural events and art galleries. Less than 5% of international visitors manage to get to New Plymouth which leaves plenty of space for visitors to binge on New Plymouth’s cultural attractions.

Trip Overview

Duration: 2 days
Start NZ anywhere
Finish NZ anywhere

Best time to visit: Year round – shopping is mostly indoors.

Spring for garden lovers who are interested including public gardens into the weekend itinerary.

Weather: New Plymouth Weather Forecast and Observations


New Plymouth’s exploring

Aerial view on Taranaki coastline with a small river and New Plymouth and Mount Taranaki on the background. Taranaki region, New Zealand
New Plymouth and Mount Taranaki

Get your walking shoes on and explore the art galleries, boutique shops and the quirky nature of New Plymouth’s central district and then it’s off to explore what the small towns of Eltham and Hawera have to offer.

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Gallaries and lunch

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, exhibition space for artist Len Lye's kinetic works, New Zealand
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth

The Museum of Contemporary Art Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is a building glimmering in the light with stainless steel curves that encourage visitors to enter. The building itself is a contemporary art statement. The dedicated Len Lye Centre is about the pioneer filmmaker and kinetic sculpture Len Lye.

Sculpture that talks, has sound and interacts with its audience is magical and here in New Plymouth is a homage to this art form. And there is a gift shop that will devour your time as you absorb the sound of movement.

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New Plymouth to Eltham and Hawera

Hawera historic water tower, Taranaki, New Zealand small kiwi town attraction
Hawera Water Tower

Hawera is a small settlement with less than 10,000 residents. The quirky character of the town, its support for art and crafts and two outstanding private museums is worth an afternoon spent pottering around Hawera.

Hawera is the location for the largest dairy factory complex in the world, “Whareroa”, which has its own gas-fired power plant. The factory is not open for regular tours… yet. Your journey to Hawera is on the Surf Highway with black sand surf beaches making it a scenic drive between New Plymouth and Hawera.

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Stops & extensions
Early evening

Return to New Plymouth

Exterior facade of the Len Lye Centre (Govett-Brewster Art Gallery) in New Plymouth, New Zealand
Exterior facade of the Len Lye Centre (Govett-Brewster Art Gallery) in New Plymouth

Return to New Plymouth with your recently acquired goodies wondering how on earth you are going to get that lovely 1950’s club chair onto the plane,  you’re loving the fabulous jewellery and the acquired art where it is going to hang in your home? New Plymouth eateries are a dining experience that would not feel out of place in Sydney or Auckland.

Dinner at The Orangery is fun.

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Perhaps your New Plymouth weekend is a special event, an anniversary or celebration for couples. Then King and Queen Hotel Suites offers a magical place to build memories. The location is very convenient as it is in the heart of the town. The hotel is linked to the Nice Hotel and Table Restaurant through a lush tropical garden making it a great place to linger watching the world go by. To book or for further information click here for details King and Queen Hotel Suites.

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The Bank of New Zealand Eltham @The Bank
The Bank of New Zealand, Eltham @The Bank

On your way to Hawera you pass Eltham. It is worth a detour. Eltham is a town characterised by its shuttered main street where there are more closed shops than open. It is a record of the twentieth century and the move of a butcher, baker and candlestick maker to the local supermarket which is located 40 minutes away in New Plymouth. Take a wander along Bridge Street checking out what is open and what is closed with the net curtains a clear indication of ceased trading. Eltham is also home to inspiring art galleries and design stores.

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Sunday morning


Te Rewa Rewa bridge framing Mt Taranaki, New Zealand
Te Rewa Rewa bridge framing Mt Taranaki

A brisk walk along the Coastal walkway gives visitors an opportunity to observe the outdoor installations along the way.  NEW PLYMOUTH COASTAL WALKWAY is a 13 km shared track beside a spectacular coastline finishing at Ngamotu Beach.  Highlights include architecturally stunning Te Rewa Rewa Bridge and  the Len Lye Wind Wand.  Get inspired browsing Visit Taranaki detailed description of the walkway with where to go and how to walk. The walkway is a shared pathway with cyclists making it a great option to hire a bike for the day to explore New Plymouth.

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