An Art and Food Lover's Guide to Taranaki

Taranaki, one of the most creative centres in Aotearoa.

A close up of three brightly coloured artworks of flowers on a white wall inside Govett Brewster Art Gallery.

Words by: Grace Hall

Photos by: Anna Briggs & Supplied

In recent years Taranaki has deservedly earned a reputation for being one of the most creative centres in Aotearoa. Home to street art, internationally acclaimed galleries, studios and community galleries, here are some of the best art experiences, with a side of food and drink, that the region has to offer.

The bright yellow interior of the Jewel and Jewellers store, with necklaces hanging on hooks.

The Jewel and The Jeweller + Billow Bakery

91c Devon Street West, New Plymouth (The Jewel and The Jeweller)

New Plymouth’s best sourdough bakery, Billow Bakery, is run out of an old shipping container. Pop in for a cup of coffee and just-out-of-the-oven morning bun, before heading next door to The Jewel and The Jeweller. In what doubles as a jewellery gallery and studio space (also in an old shipping container) you’ll discover the work of some of the best jewellers in Aotearoa. 

The garden and black iron exterior of the Nice Hotel and restaurant with.

The Nice Hotel + Table @ Nice

71 Brougham Street, New Plymouth

The walls of The Nice Hotel, run by local arts patron Terry Parkes, are adorned with Terry’s extensive collection of art that’s been built up over many years. After admiring Terry’s collection, make your way to the large balcony off the back of the hotel’s restaurant, Table @ Nice, for a glass of wine and platter in one of the city’s best-hidden spots. 

A lit up Len Lye sound sculpture against a black background.

The Len Lye Centre at Govett-Brewster Art Gallery + Monica's Eatery

42 Queen Street, New Plymouth (The Len Lye Centre)

The Len Lye Centre is hard to miss with its distinctive stainless steel facade. Just as impressive is the collection of kinetic sculpture works by world-renowned Len Lye that you’ll find inside. When you’ve learnt about the impressive engineering and creative processes involved in the creation of Lye’s works, head down the corridor to Monica’s Eatery for a plate of some of the best eggs in town.

A bar man reaching for a bottle of spirits in a back lit shelving unit.

Len Lye Cinema + Itch Wine Bar

2/47 Queen Street, New Plymouth (Itch Wine Bar)

The Len Lye Centre at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is home to New Plymouth’s only arthouse cinema, a beautiful space with plush red seats that regularly features international and New Zealand films. Expect up-to-date cinema content, as well as regular screenings of cults and classics. Afterwards, walk across the road to the White Hart Precinct’s Itch Wine Bar for a glass of wine and plate of charcuterie.

A large colourful wire sculpture photographed from the ground looking up against the evening sky.

Puke Ariki + Arborio Restaurant

1 Ariki Street, New Plymouth (Puke Ariki)

New Plymouth’s museum and library, Puke Ariki, is the place to visit to learn more about the city’s and region’s history and rich cultural scene. Once you’ve taken in the impressive taonga, or one of the regular exhibitions of works by New Plymouth and Taranaki artists, head down to Arborio Restaurant for a burger, a beer and spectacular views of the ocean.

Brightly coloured cards and glass cups on display on shelves during a sunny day.

Kina NZ Design and Art Space + Bleached Coffee and Company

101 Devon Street West, New Plymouth (Kina NZ Design and Art Space)

Pop into Bleached Coffee and Company for a cup of coffee and a breakfast burger made by local favourite Gamma Ray’s, before popping round the corner to Kina NZ Design and Art Space. Here you’ll find the work and wares of artists from across Aotearoa, including jewellery, ceramics, design products and ever-changing exhibitions of work by local artists.

The inside of the Fenton Street Arts Collective featuring gifts and works of art on display.

Fenton Street Arts Collective and Café

11 Fenton Street, Stratford

In a lovingly restored historic building in the back streets of Stratford is the Fenton Street Arts Collective, a place for local artists to show their work. But this isn’t any old community art gallery. While you’re there grab a coffee (the beans are roasted on-site), something to eat from the café and sample some of the gin that’s made at the onsite distillery. 

The exterior of the Hall of Design container sitting next to native trees.

Hall of Design + Toret Cucina Italiana

1139 South Road, Ōakura (Hall of Design)

The small seaside settlement of Ōakura, about a 20-minute drive from the centre of New Plymouth, is home to Hall of Design, a graphic design studio and gallery that operates out of a converted shipping container. After checking out the works of emerging and established Aotearoa artists, pop into Toret Cucina Italiana for a long weekend lunch of pizza and pasta. 

An extreme close up of small figurines dressed in army and civilian clothing.

Tawhiti Museum + Someday Café

401 Ohangai Road, Hāwera

Nigel Ogle’s Tawhiti Museum might just be one of the best privately owned museums in the country. Its impressive life-size exhibits and scale models, all made on site, tell immersive stories about the history of Aotearoa. Pop to nearby Someday Café in Hāwera afterwards, for a coffee and pastry made by local guy Andrew Blanche, of Baked by Blanche.

The exterior of Escape Coffee Roaster painted in green with a very large astronaut painted on it.

Milarky + Escape Coffee Roasters

15 Liardet Street, New Plymouth (Escape Coffee Roasters)

Around the streets of New Plymouth’s CBD you’ll find buildings featuring works by local artist Damin Radford Scott, known as Milarky. Find Milarky’s work featuring a giant astronaut on the facade of Escape Coffee Roasters, a great spot for a caffeine hit, and then head to his recently opened gallery space Resident Gallery, an artist-run space where the hours are (self-confessed) “not the most reliable, and often nocturnal”. Here, the works on the walls change often.