Guide48 Hours Taranaki
Whether you’re an adventurer, art lover, beachgoer, or gourmand (or indeed all four), Taranaki has you covered. Here’s our guide to the best ways to spend 48 hours in this small province with a big personality. It's worth making the off-the-beaten-track trip to.
Your guide to the best things to do in Taranaki
Taranaki is home to Mount Taranaki, an iconic symbol of the region, along with a number of beautiful walking and tramping tracks. This coastal city also has world-class surfing on the Tasman Sea and an epic coastal walkway. It’s an outdoor lover’s dream.
Wake up at King and Queen Hotel Suites
41 Queen Street, New Plymouth
Fit for a King or a Queen, you’ll feel exactly like one when you wake up after a night’s sleep at one of New Plymouth’s best hotels. Right in the heart of New Plymouth’s popular West End Precinct, the King and Queen is everything that you want in a place to stay: big rooms, comfy beds, sunny balconies, and a collision of art and food: expect delicious room service breakfast from nearby café Monica’s Eatery that’s housed in the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, only a stone's throw away.
9am - Coffee at Vintage Industries
97 King Street, New Plymouth
Join the locals who know about Vintage Industries for your early morning pick me up - an unsuspecting spot for one of the best cups of coffee in town. You’d be forgiven for walking past and thinking Vintage Industries was just a converted warehouse space selling vintage decor, furniture and lighting fixtures. Now you know to stop for the coffee too.
10.00am - Explore Govett-Brewster Art Gallery / Len Lye Centre
42 Queen Street, New Plymouth
No visit to New Plymouth is complete without a visit to the city’s world-renowned Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre. Once you’ve taken the obligatory selfie in front of the Len Lye Centre’s impressive stainless steel facade - a feat this engineering region is proud of - prepare yourself to be immersed in a world not just of kinetic sculptor Len Lye’s works, but of contemporary art by some of the finest up and coming and established artists Aotearoa has to offer.
11:30am - Hit the shops!
44 Brougham Street, New Plymouth (The Virtue, pictured)
For a small city, New Plymouth punches well above its weight on the shopping front.
Be sure to check out Kina NZ Design and Art Space and The Jewel and The Jeweller for ceramics, jewellery and design goods by some of New Zealand’s best artists, and TEMPT Concept Store for a stylish lineup of homewares, clothing and accessories. If you’re into clothes, visit Crystal Cylinder in a converted garage space for a carefully curated line-up of gear for men and women that reflects New Plymouth’s laid back coastal vibe (get a coffee from Bleached while you’re there). Further down the road, be sure to check out The Virtue, a beautiful perfumery, florist and vintage furniture shop. And if you’re green-fingered, don’t look past Flora and Co Indoor Plant Studio where the selection of reasonably priced houseplants is so good you won’t leave without one.
1pm - Lunch at Shining Peak Brewing
59 Gill Street, New Plymouth
You’ll have worked up an appetite, and earned yourself a beer by now, so head to New Plymouth’s favourite brew bar, Shining Peak, for lunch. Find yourself a seat in the sunny outdoor courtyard, order a tasting flight of Shining Peak’s brews that are all brewed on-site and whet that appetite with a seriously good burger made using locally sourced Green Meadows Beef. If you’ve got room for dessert, the lineup of beer-infused ice creams is worth getting stuck into.
2pm - Stroll the Coastal Walkway
Coastal Walkway, New Plymouth
A must-do is exploring New Plymouth’s Coastal Walkway, which stretches some 13.2km along the Tasman Sea, from Port Taranaki out to Bell Block Beach.
Start your stroll, or bike ride, from the Lee Breakwater. Len Lye’s towering Wind Wand is hard to miss, before working your way out to the equally impressive Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, where hopefully Taranaki Maunga will be on show in all its glory. You'll also see Renate Verbrugge's sculpture Mothers and Daughters on the journey.
Depending on the time of year, and how brave you are, stop in on the way at East End and Fitzroy Beaches, two of New Plymouth’s favourite swimming and surfing spots, for a dip. In summer, East End Beach plays host to a pop-up cafe, Paris Plage, that’s the perfect spot for an afternoon ice cream by the sea.
5pm - Drinks at Itch Wine Bar
2/47 Queen Street, New Plymouth
For a pre-dinner tipple, pop into Itch Wine Bar, a postage-stamp-sized watering hole with a so-big-it’s-hard-to-decide drinks list. Although Itch might bill itself as a wine bar (and its wines are good) it has a reputation for good cocktails, too. If you’re into gin, try a gin and tonic made using locally produced Juno Gin.
7pm - Dinner at Social Kitchen (Option 1)
40 Powderham Street, New Plymouth
The place that locals like to take out-of-towners to for dinner, Social Kitchen has a well-earned reputation for some of the best food and service in town. Housed in the city’s former Salvation Army Citadel, the cosy, taxidermy filled restaurant is a meat lover's dream, though there’s plenty for non-meat eaters too. Expect shared plates, fun cocktails and slick service.
7pm - Dinner at Ms White (Option 2)
47 Queen Street, New Plymouth
Housed in New Plymouth’s heritage West End Precinct, Ms White does seriously good woodfired pizzas and has an extensive line up of craft beers, by the bottle and on tap. If anything by local favourite Three Sisters Brewery is on offer, be sure to try it. Enjoy your pizza in the loud, bustling, fairy light adorned courtyard, which is covered and heated in cooler months, so there’s no need to worry about braving the elements.
8am - Start the day with coffee
47 King Street, New Plymouth
There’s no better way to start a day in New Plymouth than with a cup of coffee from local legend Ozone Coffee Roasters. Their downtown roastery and café might always be bustling, but the coffee comes quickly and is damn good to boot. On the food front, expect good toast and delicious pastries.
8:30am - An early morning stroll around Pukekura and Brooklands Parks
10 Fillis Street, New Plymouth
Amble your way up to Pukekura and Brooklands Parks, or ‘The Park’ as it’s affectionately known by locals, for a morning stroll around both Parks’ many beautifully cared for tracks and trails, and the two main lakes at its heart. Be sure to check out the world-famous Bowl of Brooklands, which plays host to WOMAD.
Photo credit: Rob Tucker
10am - Chaddy’s Charters
9 Ocean View Parade, Moturoa, New Plymouth
Adventurous types, be sure to book a wildlife tour or fishing trip with local legend Chaddy’s Charters. Run for many years now by local boatie Dave Chadfield, Chaddy’s Charters offers tours of New Plymouth’s Sugarloaf Islands in an old blue and orange 1950s lifeboat from the UK. You’ll likely see seals and plenty of birdlife, may catch a fish or two and learn lots from rugby player turned Captain, Carl Hayman. Be prepared to come away sore from laughing a lot - a Chaddy’s Charters journey is usually a hoot!
12pm - Explore the Surf Highway 45
1133 South Road, Oakura
Jump in a car and head for Taranaki’s world-renowned Surf Highway 45. Start your adventure with lunch at Butler’s Reef in Oakura, the local pub that’s famous for its laidback Taranaki hospitality, before shooting down to Oakura Beach for a quick swim. Be sure to turn off the Highway to check out some of Taranaki’s best surfing spots - Weld Road, Stent Road and Ahu Ahu Road; pay a visit to the Cape Egmont Lighthouse and finish your adventure at Opunake’s beautiful black sand beach.
Photo credit: Rob Tucker
3:30pm - Tour and tasting at Juno Gin
16D Sunley Street, Westown, New Plymouth
Arrange a time to visit local distillery Juno Gin for a tour of the distillery and gin tasting. Here you’ll learn all about how this lauded distillery came to be, meet Juno’s fantastic owners Dave and Jo, hear about their commitment to using locally sourced produce to make their great selection of gins and, if you’re lucky, have a chance to try Juno’s extra special limited edition seasonal gins.
5pm - Drink at State Bistro
31 Gover Street, New Plymouth
Head to State Bistro, housed in New Plymouth’s old State Hotel, for a pre-dinner drink and snack. The cocktails are good, and so too is the lineup of New Zealand made wine. There are plenty of bar snacks to choose from - you’ll be hard-pressed to pick just one - and the seafood options are particularly good.
7pm - Dinner at Fork n Knife
91A Devon Street West, New Plymouth
Down a long corridor, you’ll find Fork n Knife, a very good family-run bistro in a space that shares its kitchen with one of New Plymouth’s oldest burger bars, that was once a tattoo parlour. But don’t expect burger bar fare here. Fork n Knife does high quality, modern classics kind of food, made using seasonal and locally sourced produce at very reasonable prices. The service is relaxed and fun and it almost feels like you’re hanging out in a mate’s dining room.
Words by: Grace Hall
Photos by: Anna Briggs