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4 Nov 2021

An insider’s guide to New Plymouth

Vibrant, contemporary and buzzing with things to do, New Plymouth is a mecca for families and foodies, art-lovers and adventurers. Discover a round-up of the region’s quirkiest hotels, coolest eateries, best trails and funnest adventures.

Did you know that in 2017, Lonely Planet named Taranaki as the second-best region to visit in the entire world? That’s right! And the city at the heart of this amazing place is New Plymouth. With tons to see, do, eat and discover, a visit to this amazing little city definitely needs to be on your bucket list. Better yet, you can fly there directly from Christchurch Airport!

Browse our list of hidden gems below to make your trip truly unique.

Decadent dining off the beaten path

Liardet Street Projects

The epitome of a hidden secret, this food truck hub is well hidden and only those in the know can find it. Discover the universe’s best burgers at Gamma Ray’s Burgers, authentic Vietnamese street food at Viet Nom Nom or California-inspired pizza at Kickflip Pizza.

Shining Peak Brewery

Down a local craft beer and be wowed by their upmarket menu. The slogan at Shining Peak Brewery is ‘Drink Beer, Do Good’, as 5% of their beer revenue is donated to a local charity or organisation.

Meat & Liquor

Hidden up a dark artsy hallway, Meat & Liquor is home to New Plymouth’s prime cuts of meat and tasty cocktails.

Fork n Knife

Contemporary New Zealand cuisine, with a welcoming and cosy ambience.

Lemonwood Eatery

A vegan paradise awaits at Lemonwood Eatery, just a short scenic 10-minute drive away in Ōakura.

Known Unknown

The new kid on the block, this urban winery includes a tasting room where you can sample the wares and toast the town.

Tracks and trails that will delight the eyes

New Plymouth Coastal Walkway

If you’re keen to stretch your legs and take in some of New Plymouth’s amazing public art, this 13km promenade extends along the city’s coastline. Discover highlights such as Len Lye’s kinetic sculpture Wind Wand and the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge.

Dawson Falls

The maunga is only a 40-minute drive from New Plymouth. Choose from a plethora of alpine walking tracks including the majestic hidden gem, Dawson Falls.

Goblin Forest

Uncover the enchanting magic of the Goblin Forest (otherwise known as the Kapuni Loop Track), and pretend you’re in your very own fantasy movie.

Wilkies Pools

Take a dip in the family-friendly and accessible Wilkies Pools, a series of natural plunge pools formed 20,000 years ago.

Pouākai Crossing

For the more prepared and adventurous explorers, trek the Pouākai Crossing. Don’t forget to snap an iconic photo of the maunga, perfectly reflected in the Pouākai Tarn.

Pukekura Park

Slap-bang in the middle of New Plymouth is Pukekura Park, home of the TSB Festival of Lights. Explore this inner-city sanctuary with 52ha of stunning gardens and landscapes. Can you find the mysterious and often missed waterwheel while you’re there?


Take a colourful walk around one of New Plymouth’s celebrated public gardens and marvel at the elegant homestead. Head down to the bottom of the gardens for a river-swim – a calm swimming spot only locals know about.


Nestled close to the maunga and renowned for its rhododendron collection, encounter the mystery and wonder of this world-class garden.

Experiences that will leave you wanting more

Chaddy’s Charters

This charter provides wildlife boat tours to NZ’s most northern fur seal colony as well as bike, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard hire and lessons.

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/ Len Lye Centre

No trip to New Plymouth is complete without a visit to this world-renowned contemporary art gallery. Take a selfie with the undulating stainless-steel exterior or be taken aback by one of Len Lye’s kinetic sculptures.

Hillsborough Holden Museum

Keep the kids happy with exciting options including downhill luge and mini putt course at the Hillsborough Holden Museum.

Puke Ariki Museum

The innovative and free-to-enter library, i-SITE, research centre, and museum is not to be missed.


Get bowled away with ten-pin bowling, laser tag and black-light mini putt… perfect for a rainy day!

Escape Masters Rooms

The perfect adventure for those looking to challenge their logical thinking. Could you find your way out?

Places to stay that are a little bit different

Nice Hotel

A charismatic and quirky inner-city hotel that highlights its heritage in a luxurious way. Don’t miss the award-winning hotel restaurant, Table.

King and Queen Hotel Suites

Boutique opulence in the heart of the city, with cutting edge architectural design and magnificent views.

Ahu Ahu Beach Villas

Retreat to these idyllic villas, where coastal vistas and serenity abound.

Ngati Ruanui Stratford Mountain House

Just 40-minutes’ drive from New Plymouth, this relaxing retreat will put you closer to Taranaki Maunga (Mount Taranaki) for alpine adventures.

The Residence Fitzroy

Newly opened, high-end serviced apartments close to the beach, perfect for accessing the eateries and city delights of New Plymouth.