“Like no other” New Plymouth travel guide
Find a place like no other, a small regional centre punching above its weight.
Find a place like no other, a small regional centre punching above its weight.
Dig deep into cultural attractions while pondering a choice of outdoor activities from Pukekura Gardens or Egmont National Park to discover goblins. A must-do is to obtain coveted tickets for the doyenne of garden events, Taranaki Garden Festival. Wander through private gardens and public parks. New Plymouth is an awesome surprise wrapped around Mount Egmont National Park.
New Plymouth, like no other, has several great tour operators getting visitors on the water to view or swim among the local marine life as well as outstanding local guides familiar with the temperamental weather conditions on Mt Taranaki. For dedicated cycling enthusiasts mountain biking is one of NZ’s hidden routes, the Epic Timber Trail. The Timber Trail is a Nga Haerenga Great Ride. For foodie fans pop on the must do list, Juno ,a local distillery to tempt your senses.READ MORE
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:
Pukekura Park has everything required for an outstanding public park. Pukekura’s lake has ducks and a cafe. The tea house is a popular meeting spot for locals. There are easy sealed paths, a lush fernery and a Poets Corner. Children will not be disappointed with the flying fox and modern play equipment.
As befitting a heritage park there is a Queen Victoria Jubilee drinking fountain and a historic water wheel providing entertainment for the kids. Look out for Brooklands Zoo nestled within Pukekura depths. Pukekura Park is New Plymouth’s largest and most diverse park. It is a must visit for everyone and the home of the TSB Festival of Lights every summer. There are over 40 interesting attractions in the park alone (see travel pack section for park map).
Please only feed our animal friends foods that they might find naturally. Wild bird seed is available in many shops and supermarkets and is much healthier than bread and other processed foods. Frozen peas are another source of nutritious food for ducks and geese.
Tupare is an Art & Crafts garden with a restored Chapman-Taylor designed house in its midst. In addition to the beautiful hard landscaping, stately plantings of trees create shelter and a magical atmosphere in the property. This special garden is also in 10 Taranaki Gardens & Parks worth a detour, travel guide: Best Bits.
DO YOU ADORE RHODODENDRONS?
Garden lovers of cool climate rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas will have Pukeiti Gardens on their bucket list. While not strictly in town (23 km) New Plymouth has ‘borrowed’ the world class sprawling forested garden as part of their wider attractions.
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. Either way the building is a wow moment and an extraordinary place for photographers to capture its essence.
Admission: Free (for locals only)
Explore the extensive collection of documents and memorabilia relating to Taranaki’s past at the Puke Ariki Museum complex. There are interactive exhibits that engage visitors and a great gift shop specialising in locally sourced art and craft objects. Puke Ariki Library & Museum complex entrance is opposite the Wind Wand with the visitor centre greeting people as the doors swing open. Very popular with kids is the Ruru scavenger hunt, remember to collect your pack from the front desk. Folded into the museum is a working modern library.
The Vicarage pottery building is stunning. Vicarage Pottery is a potters collective located in the historic Te Henui Vicarage building.You’ll find fabulous one-off pieces ranging from artistic pieces to domestic ware and in a wide range of clay bodies including earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. Based in the Vicarage. Pottery building, the New Plymouth Potters Club also offers classes for learners, weekly gatherings for member potters and organised workshops throughout the year.
Hillsborough Holden Museum is the lifetime passion of Steve Fabish with an extraordinary collection honouring the Australian Holden cars and memorabilia. The cars range from well-preserved early models, and meticulously restored models to late-model new cars.
There is a mini-golf course based on the layout of Bathurst’s Mount Panorama track.
Hideaway luge is open for private bookings.
New Plymouth’s central location is ideal for exploring Taranaki province, for ideas check out Taranaki Attractions, Things to do.
Uncover Taranaki, a place less crowded. Discover a stunning snow capped beautiful Mount Taranaki or stroll on iron sand driftwood strewn surfing beaches. Taranaki is an amazing outdoor adventure playground with New Plymouth’s cosmopolitan vibe creating wrap around for visitor attractions. Like no other Taranaki effortlessly combines places to go outdoors with cultural experiences from Len Lye striking architecture to Patea’s Southern Museum.
Quirky kiwi towns such as Eltham, Manaia, Inglewood and Stratford for a classic scone with jam and cream. Second shopping in the quiet backwater of Eltham or a funky public installation acknowledging children’s toys. Taranaki has unusual museums and collectables which offer indoor attractions on rainy days.
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.
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. Eat, drink & craft breweries, Taranaki, New Plymouth – Best Bits awaits visitors to New Plymouth and Taranaki.
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.
… read more about Taranaki things to do for free.
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.
Late December to March for summer activities.
Venturing outdoors to explore Egmont National Park, remember to check the weather forecast before departing and inform your hosts where you plan to go and your proposed return.
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.
New Plymouth is serviced by a domestic airport located 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.
DOES NEW PLYMOUTH HAVE A RAILWAY CONNECTION TO THE NORTH ISLAND?
No, New Plymouth does not have a passenger railway connection.
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 centers.
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.
BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE
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