Guide48 Hours Taranaki

Whether you’re an adventurer, an art lover, a beachgoer or a 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, that’s worth making the off-the-beaten-track trip to.

A flatlay of avocado on toast and an iced coffee on a table.

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.

Day One

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.

Four black and white striped chairs sitting in a circle inside a suite at King and Queen suites in New Plymouth.

9.00am - 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.

Two women working behind a busy counter at Vintage Industries.

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.

The extremely shiny and reflective exterior of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.

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.

A staff member working behind the counter inside the opulent store The Virtue.

1.00pm - 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.

A busy industrial-style bar with lots of people sitting at tables next to a green wall.

2.00pm - 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.

Four sculptures of bodies sitting on a bench seat facing out towards the ocean.

5.00pm - 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.

A just of whisky being poured over a crystal glass with ice.

7.00pm - 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.

An empty grey bar with colourful light bulbs over head.

7.00pm - 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.

The outside bar with colourful beer posters plastered on it sides.

Day Two

8.00am - 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.

Close up of an iced coffee and avocado on toast on a table at Ozone Coffee Roasters.

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

A bright red walking bridge over a lake surrounded by native bush.

10.00am - 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!

A blue and orange boat sitting at the dock in Taranaki.

12.00pm - 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

A white light house sitting in the foreground in front Mount Taranaki.

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.

Bottles of gin on display in front of a colour portrait of a woman.

5.00pm - 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.

Two empty seats sitting in front of the bar at State Bistro.

7.00pm - 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.

Tables set for customers inside the candle lit restaurant Fork-n-Knife.

Words by: Grace Hall

Photos by: Anna Briggs

All Guides