Guide12 Hours New Plymouth

The best of art and food collide in coastal New Plymouth. Enjoy world class art, culture and cuisine in a seaside setting, with a backdrop of mountain views.

A close up of wine and food at a table.

Your guide to the best things to do in New Plymouth

Once really only known for dairy farming and its underground resources, in the last decade New Plymouth has grown into a sophisticated and stylish city where culture and the arts are king. Located in the Taranaki region on the wild and rugged West Coast of the North Island, New Plymouth might be somewhat off the beaten track, but it's a city well worth visiting.

Taranaki is also home to Mount Taranaki (note the skiing and snowboarding opportunities), 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.

New Plymouth has built an impressive repertoire of vibrant places to eat, drink, shop and explore. Along with farmers markets, craft fairs, an exciting theatre and music scene, galleries big and small, and pop up spaces and events, it’s the perfect urban getaway. Here's our guide to the best places to eat, drink, shop, visit and stay at while you're in town.

Morning

Wake up at King and Queen Hotel Suites

Corner of King and Queen Streets, New Plymouth

Backing on to the White Hart precinct, this is the place to stay if you want to be in the thick of the action. Expect beautiful rooms with Moroccan style decor and excellent service at this New Plymouth hotel. Food from nearby establishments such as Monica's Eatery and coffee from Ozone, make the room service offerings here perhaps one of the best in the country. 

King and Queen Suites: Website I Instagram

8am: Coffee at Ozone Coffee Roasters

47 King Street, New Plymouth

Established in 1998, and now with cafés in Auckland and London, Ozone Coffee Roasters is a New Plymouth success story. Ozone's HQ on King Street is the best spot in town for coffee. Start your day with an espresso or two from their flagship café and coffee roastery, and take home a bag of their beans as a momento from your trip.

Ozone Coffee Roasters: Website I Instagram

Photo: Strategy Collective

A couple drinking coffee inside Ozone cafe.

9am: Breakfast at Monica’s Eatery

42 Queen Street, New Plymouth

Once fully caffeinated, pop around the corner to your first meal of the day. Located next door to the Govett-Brewster Gallery and Len Lye Centre, Monica’s Eatery is a spectacular example of an art gallery restaurant.

The inspirational space has been designed with the adjourning gallery and museum in mind. With its light-filled space and vast ceiling, Monica’s is a true beauty.  Choose from a menu of breakfast favourites (think omelete, benedict and free range eggs on sourdough), or take your pick from a kedgeree with house-smoked fish, baby pea, mint and ricotta fritters or a breakfast bolognese with poached egg on sourdough.

Monica’s Eatery: Website I Instagram

Photo: Strategy Collective

Customers sitting inside Monica's Eatery.

10am: Culture at Len Lye Centre

42 Queen Street, New Plymouth

New Plymouth truly is the county's hub for contemporary art. The Len Lye Centre and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery are exceptionally impressive facilities for such a small city, and should be an essential part of any visit to New Plymouth. The Len Lye Centre (named after the artist himself), an extension to the Govett-Brewster Gallery, is architecturally imposing (it’s an Instagrammer and selfie-taker’s dream).

A pioneer filmmaker, sculptor, painter and poet, Len’s works are known the world over, but most of his collection can be found in this gallery which opened in 2015. It is the first gallery in New Zealand to be dedicated to a single artist.

Len Lye Centre: Website I Instagram

Photographer Sam Hartnett

11am: Coffee break at Bleached

109 Devon Street West, New Plymouth

Take some time out to quickly pop into Bleached, a trendy café serving excellently brewed Allpress coffee, just around the corner from the gallery. The beautiful, naturally lit space is an ideal place to meet the locals and chat to the passionate baristas.

Bleached Café: Instagram

The inside of Bleached cafe in New Plymouth.

11.30am: Culture at Govett-Brewster Gallery

42 Queen Street, New Plymouth

Roll on back to the Govett-Brewster Gallery to discover the main gallery. A striking building with a reflective curved steel exterior, the inside is just as breathtaking thanks to a programme of provocative works by international and national artists. As far as an arts and culture space goes, this one is truly visionary and should be the envy of every city in the country.

Govett-Brewster Gallery: Website I Instagram

An exhibition inside Govett-Brewster gallery.

Afternoon

12.30pm: Vintage shopping

97 King Street, New Plymouth

Vintage Industries is the place to visit for statement pieces for your home. A truly unique shop, stepping into this kingdom of vintage treasures is like taking a kid to a candy store. Vintage industrial lamp shades dangle from the ceiling, antique tables heave with collectables to be discovered, taxidermy animals patiently wait for a new home and vintage marine lighting, chandlery and other refurbished ship fittings, sit in perfect harmony together.

Vintage Industries: Website I Instagram

Inside Vintage Industries, New Plymouth.

1.30pm: Lunch at Little Glutton

162 Devon Street East, New Plymouth

Take a 15 minute stroll down to Little Glutton for an Asian fusion lunch with a fun twist. Meals are bold and flavoursome here, and the menu takes an unexpected turn with combos like ramen with a side of fries and cheeseburger spring rolls. Fill your table with a bunch of large and small shared plates partnered with a lychee martini, before walking to the West End.

Little Glutton, New Plymouth: Website I Instagram

Photo: Strategy Collective

Entrance to Little Glutton.

2.30pm: Shopping at West End Precinct

47 Queen Street, New Plymouth

Walk back to the West End precinct in downtown New Plymouth. Now is a good time to explore this area a bit more. Home to an exciting hub of boutique restaurants, bars and businesses, start at Plantation Design Store for some homewares shopping, then make your way to Et Vous for high end national and international fashion. Pop into ArtHaus, a collaboration of art, design, homewares and clothing.

Et Vous I 118 Devon St W, New Plymouth I Website I Instagram

Plantation Design Store I 45 Queen Street, New Plymouth I Website I Instagram 

ArtHaus I 58 Devon Street West, New Plymouth I Facebook

Entrance to Et Vous in New Plymouth.

4pm: Stroll along the Coastal Walkway

Coastal Walkway, New Plymouth

A quick 10 minute walk East and you are at the Coastal Walkway. No visit to New Plymouth is complete without time spent on the stunning coastline. Once railway tracks and an inaccessible part of the city, now locals and visitors are fortunate to have access to 12.7 km of seaside walking and cycling space. Walking the entire Coastal Walkway is very manageable. In summer, bikes are available to hire, and be sure to get a good look at the city's famous Wind Wand by kinetic artist Len Lye.

Coastal Walkway: Website 

The Coastal Walkway.

Evening

5pm: Beers at Shining Peak Brewing

59 Gill Street, New Plymouth

The shining light of the New Plymouth beer scene, Shining Peak is a recent addition to the city. A popular brewery and eatery, kick back and try one of their house brewed beers (5% of beer revenues to local charities and organisations). If you are in New Plymouth for longer than 12 hours, then a brewery tour is a must do.

Shining Peak Brewing: Website I Instagram 

A woman drinking a beer at Shining Peak Brewing.

6pm: Dinner at Ms White

White Hart Courtyard, 47 Queen Street, New Plymouth

This is your Sliding-Doors moment.  Pizza and beer or bistro-style fare for dinner?

For the former, head to Ms White a casual and cool pizza and beer joint in the West End for an affordable bite to eat. You will find it hard to contain your excitement when you lay your eyes on the menu, with over 40 craft beers and 15 really good pizzas to choose from. The indoor-outdoor setting is an inspiration too.

Ms White: Website I Instagram

Photo: Strategy Collective

The bar inside Ms White.

6pm: Dinner at Social Kitchen

40 Powderham Street, New Plymouth

Social Kitchen is found inside the refurbished Salvation Army building, now fitted out with a hip and charming interior. The communal dining and sharing plates add a nice community feel whilst you dine on impeccable food. They are big on meat here, so it would be rude not to try their famous lamb shoulder or angus scotch fillet. Along with incredible meat dishes, you will find some even more delicious vegetarian options on the menu: eggplant parmigiana; house made gnocchi and polenta fries.

Time for a night cap. 

Social Kitchen: Website I Instagram

Photo: Strategy Collective

A flatlay of food and drinks on a table at Social Kitchen.

8pm: Cocktails at Itch

2/47 Queen Street, Central, New Plymouth

Itch is a wine bar offering a wine and cocktail experience like no other in the city. The staff are all about making sure you have the best time, one glass at a time - their floor to ceiling selection of liquor will see you through to the early hours (if you fancy it). Still hungry? You can’t go wrong with a platter of their cured meats and aged cheeses.  You can also continue the party once you are back home by purchasing some very reasonably priced wines via their online store.

Itch Wine Bar: Website I Instagram

Photo: Strategy Collective

A bar woman reaching for a bottle of liquor.

Have longer than 12 hours?

In New Plymouth for a bit longer? We recommend popping into these places for a visit too:

EAT

Billow

First and foremost a bakery serving sourdough loaves that have been naturally leavened, Billow is also a great spot for a coffee and something sweet, such as a cinnamon morning bun or pain au chocolat. Set up by Rosie Sargisson and Jeff Fong in 2017, Billow is a cosy wee spot and a great place to watch passionate bread makers doing what they love.

Public Catering Company

New Plymouth's grand old White Hart Hotel has undergone extensive renovation in recent years and now plays host to a seriously cool line up of eating and watering holes. The Public Catering Company opens daily for excellent coffee and a great line up of sandwiches, salads and baked goods. The doughnuts are a local favourite. 

The Snug Lounge

Also housed in the White Hart precinct, The Snug, as it is affectionately known, is a bar cum Japanese tapas restaurant where the food (mostly yakitori) is good and reasonably priced. Sit in the beautifully restored bar and restaurant space or in the expansive outdoor courtyard that is usable all year round. This place is casual and fun. 

MOMO Sushi 

Some have gone so far as to say that the sushi at MOMO is the best in the country, and we tend to agree. Here the sushi is served buffet style, some of the freshest and most innovative sushi we have had.  MOMO is a must visit. 

The Federal Store

Located in the suburb of Fitzroy, The Fed, as the locals call it, is a firm favourite in this town. The cabinet food is supreme, the milkshakes are famous and the coffee is good. This eclectic cafe, with a classic Kiwi vibe, is well worth the short drive from the centre of town. 

Paris Plage

Come summer time Paris Plage, a cafe based out of a shipping container, opens its window beachside on the famous Coastal Walkway. Grab a coffee or a beer and pull up a beanbag right by the beach for one of the best views in town. Paris Plage serves wood fired pizzas and French style cabinet food, and does a roaring ice cream trade. Keep an eye out for outdoor movies in the summertime. 

DRINK 

The Hourglass

A small wee bar just off the city's main drag, The Hourglass is quiet in the early hours of the evening, but humming come 10pm on a Friday or Saturday night. Here you will find good cocktails, a seriously good  line up of craft beer and excellent shared plates of food. The outdoor courtyard is great in summer, and the bar particularly cosy in winter months. 

VISIT 

Pukekura Park

Pukekura Park is the jewel in New Plymouth's crown. The centrally located park covers 52 hectares and offers great walks, beautiful lakes that visitors can row old wooden boats on, the renowned Bowl of Brooklands that hosts major events such as the city's annual WOMAD festival and one of the country's most beautiful cricket grounds. In summer don't miss the outstanding Festival of Lights - the park becomes a wonderland of light installations and free family events and gigs.

Oakura

A 20-minute drive from the centre of New Plymouth, the seaside village of Oakura is well worth a visit if you are into the beach.  Check out the great surf, enjoy a walk at nearby Lucy’s Gully at the bottom of beautiful Mt Taranaki, and pay a visit to hole-in-the-wall café Kin & Co for good sandwiches and coffee by Supreme. 

SHOP

Vetro

This speciality food store and deli has a very extensive lineup of food and drink products from all four corners of the globe. Check out Vetro if you like specialty food products or want to do some of your own cooking while you are in the city. 

Tempt

A beautiful gift and homewares shop, Tempt is the city's exclusive stockist of products by the likes of Citta Design and Status Anxiety. A small but perfectly curated selection of clothing and footwear by KowTow, Beau Coops and others is on offer too. 

STAY

Nice Hotel

The Nice Hotel is housed in a grand old villa that overlooks the city. It's run by local icon Terry Parkes, who will welcome you with open arms into a place that feels more like a home than a hotel. The rooms are beautiful, and the Hotel has a great restaurant, Table, if you don’t feel like venturing further afield.

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