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Top 7 things to do in New Plymouth

  • 3 minutes

New Plymouth is a great year round destination with indoor activities for the cooler months. Cultural attractions are world class with innovative architecture featuring on many holiday photos. Together with stunning contemporary outdoor sculptural representations of New Plymouth past and present the visitor is spoiled for choice where to go and what to do. New Plymouth offers the visitor a comfortable hub for exploring Taranaki from the iconic Mount Taranaki to regional towns and settlements with their quirky personalities. Food lovers have a wide choice from fine dining to fish n chips on a surf beach. And, of course New Zealand always has a vineyard around the corner.


1. Calling all adrenaline junkies – adventure Wanaka style

Location says it all with sweeping views of the coast Len Lye Centre / Museum / Visitor Centre has it wrapped up and delivered to visitors in a convenient package. It is number one on the visitor list of things to do with stories about the region, heritage exhibits about places and people and creativity in spades with visual mind spelling outdoor and indoor sculptural displays. Puke Ariki makes for a great start to the New Plymouth experience. Dedicated to a single artist the shimmering landmark is a world class attraction in a provincial town.

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, exhibition space for artist Len Lye's kinetic works, New Zealand Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery @govettbrewster
Puke Ariki library at New Plymouth in New Zealand
Puke Ariki library at New Plymouth

2. Puke Ariki

New Plymouth is certainly not short of cultural attractions and Puke Ariki is another fantastic example. Puke Ariki is a knowledge hub that includes a museum, library, research centre and general information site for visitors. All parts of it are great and complement each other extremely well. Whether it’s the natural history exhibition of the museum, the virtual reality experiences at the library or the archives and photographs of the research centre, you’ll find there’s something for everyone.

3. Garden city with landscapes a plenty to satisfy everyone

Stunning Mount Taranaki frames New Plymouth with spectacular gardens at your doorstep to explore. From Pukekura Park with guided park walks, garden buggy tours and self-guided maps you can spend a day wandering the sprawling park. Pukeiti with its rainforest dells and quiet corners is a treasure worthy of any garden fan list. There are dazzling rhododendron spring blooms that draw visitors from all over the world.

Pukekura Park, New Plymouth, New Zealand
Pukekura Park
Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Reserve, New Zealand @Expedia
Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Reserve @Expedia

4. Explore the coast, volcanic islands and seals

Sugar Loaf Island are eroded remnants of ancient volcanic crater. The marine landscape provides a sheltered home for over 90 species of fish, sponges with seals and ocean birds making the most of the rich resources. Go snorkelling on a guided tour or kayak around the protected islands observing the wildlife.

5. Selfie locations and photo moments

Great photo locations with stunning visuals create memorable holiday moments. Check these places:

  • Te Rewa Rewa bridge with its soaring steel wings
  • Len Lye Centre, swirling silver building as a backdrop against the setting sun on the coast, including the wind wand
  • Paritutu Rock
  • Festival of Lights (summer)
  • Pukekura Park with its cultivated gardens and themed corners
  • Meeting of the Waters Reserve for natural forest scenery & swing bridge
Te Rewa Rewa bridge framing Mt Taranaki, New Zealand
Te Rewa Rewa bridge framing Mt Taranaki
@New Plymouth District Council
@New Plymouth District Council

6. New Plymouth Coastal walkway

A great way to stretch the legs in New Plymouth. For the active runner the 13km walkway is flat and easy. For strolling there are various exits and entrances with cyclists, families with strollers and dogs to keep you company. It’s definitely a local favourite and a chance to meet New Plymouth residents.

7. Meeting of the Waters Reserve

Pleasant walking trails between 20 – 45 minutes track through native bush where the Waiwhakaiho River splits in two. There are plenty of native trees to see including tawa, kahikatea, matai, rimu and totara and a suspension bridge to cross as well. There is a swimming hole for warm summer days. For families consider an impromptu picnic.

Meeting Of The Waters & Merrilands Domain Waiwhakaiho River, New Zealand @Taranaki By Air
Meeting Of The Waters @Taranaki By Air

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