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Travel Guide

New Plymouth city guide

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In this Article

WHAT TO DO IN TARANAKI

Discover a regional centre supporting world class art and cultural activities. New Plymouth punches well above its weight for the depth of cultural attractions. Outdoors New Plymouth and the surrounding district sparkle in spring blooms. The city and region celebrate the seasons with the Taranaki Garden Festival. The doyenne of garden events draws crowds from New Zealand and over the world to wander through private gardens and public parks. New Plymouth is a natural hub for visitors with Top 7 things to do in New Plymouth keeping visitors entertained.

Relishing a farm to plate cuisine is an important part of the cultural and culinary scene of New Plymouth. The rich agricultural heartland is serviced by the deep water New Plymouth port creating supply chain access to world markets for artisan food producers.

Aerial view on a beautiful bridge across a small stream with Mount Taranaki on the background. New Zealand

WEATHER

Weather in New Plymouth

The summer is between 19c – 25c. The warm season is short with cold, wet winters. It can be windy year round and partly cloudy. The coldest temperature is around 9c. It does not snow in New Plymouth.  Surfers are usually wearing wetsuits year round as the water temperature is cool. Carry layers as the weather is changeable year round.

BEST TIME TO GO

Late December to March for summer activities.

TOP SIGHTS  – NEW PLYMOUTH

  • Te Rewa Rewa bridge. The Rewa Rewa bridge has its own Wikipedia entry which is impressive. Te Rewa Rewa Bridge is part of the well known Coastal Walkway with its sculptures and outdoor installations. Read more about walks in New Plymouth and Taranaki 10 one of kind Taranaki places worth a detour. TIP: On the coastal walkway is the iconic WIND WAND a kinetic sculpture indicating which way the wind is blowing.
  • Puke Ariki Museum & Library. The Swanndri Collection at Puke Ariki Museum. Swanndri has featured in an article on How to channel your inner tourist and here is a chance to visit a collection of wool felted clothing, in particular shirts. For the kids, find a complete Moa skeleton and google the sheer size of the huge extinct bird.
Te Rewa Rewa bridge framing Mt Taranaki, New Zealand
Te Rewa Rewa bridge framing Mt Taranaki
Pukekura Park, New Plymouth, New Zealand
Pukekura Park
  • Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Park situated about 1 km from the coastline are eroded volcanic outcrops and home to thousands of seabirds, a colony of New Zealand fur seals with a rich marine world underneath the waves.
  • Art Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, Len Lye centre is a glittering glass building architecture and the stuff of many Instagram snaps of New Plymouth.
  • Pukekura Park with its hectares of landscaped grounds encompassing lakes, walks and TSB stadium. Lakes, playgrounds, manicured lawns for impromptu games, the host for festivals and a place of dappled walks among mature trees.
  • Festival of Light where the night world is revealed with light installations and lit sculptures . Walk an avenue of light or view a waterfall that changes light as it tumbles into a small pond.
  • Paritutu Rock, a steep prominent coastal rock formation challenging visitors to scale its heights for a sunset photo moment. The city has plenty of outdoor attractions, for the top 10 outdoor things to do in New Plymouth, trip activities: Best Bits, get inspired and lace up the hiking boots.
  • Brooklands zoo, a free family favoruite with farm animals and a great volunteer programme engaging kids of all ages
  • Tupare Arts and Craft homestead and gardens for its live music concerts, walks and tranquil landscapes.
Festival of Light, New Plymouth, New Zealand
Festival of Light

BEACHES – NEW PLYMOUTH

Isolated, remote driftwood strewn iron sand beaches are the norm in Taranaki. Beaches are places where surfers, boogie boarders and windsurfers challenge the elements to deliver the perfect swell, the sweet ride. The local New Plymouth beaches are:

Fitzroy beach, New Zealand @Stuff
Fitzroy beach @Stuff
  • Ngamotu Beach is a New Plymouth a sheltered harbour beach that’s family-friendly and in summer is patrolled by lifeguards.
  • New Plymouth’s Fitzroy Beach, is a beach for everyone with a sweep of black sand, swells for surfers and a gentle slope for swimmers. In summer, this beach is patrolled by surf lifeguards. The beach has two surf clubs and is home to New Plymouth Boardriders. Check water quality on the online resource, water quality at the Council. Surfing is best in a northwesterly or westerly swell. Locals fish for kahawai at the estuary and mouth of the Waiwhakaiho River.
  • On the coastal walkway is Back Beach is a favourite with locals for walking and with more experienced New Plymouth surf riders and swimmers.
  • Wind Wand. kinetic memorising as you observe wind constantly creating its own sculpture in the air. The wind wand in New Plymouth and Water Whirler on Wellington’s airport drive both oscillate to create visible movement patterns.

For more information about the iconic surf beaches check out Surf Highway road trip and Oakura and Opunake places to be.

Wind Wand, New Plymouth, New Zealand @russellstreet
Wind Wand @russellstreet

GARDENS & PARKS - NEW PLYMOUTH

NOTABLE BUILDINGS - NEW PLYMOUTH

WHERE TO EAT IN NEW PLYMOUTH

@mikesbeers
@mikesbeers

Your night in the town, perhaps at the TSB Centre for a theatre showing or a leisurely brunch in town or a road trip on the Surf Highway is a food discovery journey. From relaxing by the ocean cafes, to city donut secrets, from a Juno Gin tour to Mikes Brewery there are plenty of foodie treats and drinks to keep the energy levels up.

Uncover some of the food adventures in New Plymouth awaiting visitors to Taranaki and New Plymouth.

FREE THINGS TO DO IN NEW PLYMOUTH

New Plymouth is epic for the variety of options for budget conscious travel. There is a boutique zoo nestled within the majestic Pukekura Gardens with free entry. Amazing a zoo with no admission fees. The aviary, the monkeys and farm animals will gladden the heart of any kid.

And while New Plymouth is at the heart of free attractions from the glorious views of the coastal walkway and museums the Taranaki region showcases the outdoors as a great place for things to do for free, check out Taranaki things to do for free for ideas

Top free attractions nearby New Plymouth:

  • Outdoor walks from Egmont National Park Goblin walk through mossy fern filled forests
  • Three Sisters rock formations towering 25 metres from the seabed. Cliffs, sea stacks of sandstone and siltstone eroded by the pounding Tasman Sea. Check Taranaki travel guide for further information.
  • ROTOKARE BARRETT , walks, picnics and prolific bird life
  • Beaches in Oakura and Ohope
  • Lake Rotokare walks, swimming and kayaking options
Taranaki Three Sisters North Island New Zealand
Taranaki Three Sisters rock formations
Cape Egmont Lighthouse, New Zealand @Expedia
Cape Egmont Lighthouse @Expedia
  • Opunake Loop Trail and locate the secret garden and sit on the mosaic sofa watching the sea and surrounds
  • Gardens and parks galore, the climate is perfect for plants not so perfect for people, check out 10 Taranaki Gardens & Parks worth a detour, travel guide: Best Bits and get going
  • Take a drive and find a lighthouse and museum nearby Patea, Cape Egmont Lighthouse and South Taranaki Museum. A great day trip that is largely free.

WHERE TO STAY

Visitors focused on attractions in New Plymouth then the city centre is the best place to be. A vehicle will be needed to visit the regional galleries and museums in Patea, Hawera and Eltham. The city is compact and easily walkable.

For outdoor enthusiasts the magic of Taranaki is the wild surf ocean coastline and the ever present Mount Taranaki. Check the accommodation has great views and is conveniently located to access key walks you have flagged as must-do. Check our Camping guide for Taranaki for tips where to stay.

@PlymouthInternationalHotel
@PlymouthInternationalHotel

GETTING AROUND

New Plymouth Bus, New Zealand @Stuff
New Plymouth Bus @Stuff

There is a domestic airport 11 km from the city centre. There is shuttle service, Scott’s Airport Shuttle, taxis and rental cars situated at the airport. As it is a regional airport some services operate only when flights are arriving and departing. Ensure you have contact details on hand to avoid delays.

Bus Service

New Plymouth Citylink buses, check Routes & timetables for up to date timetables and routes. Citylink runs several regional services to towns in Taranaki. There is an InterCity service operating between New Plymouth and major North Island centres.

The best way to get around New Plymouth and Taranaki is either by vehicle or bike. Many areas are poorly served by regional public transport.

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