The Best of Winter Fest: 6 Must-See Shows & Where to Go in Between

A man and woman playing musical instruments on a stage.

As the cooler days close in, there’s a sense that hibernation mode has hit many pockets of the country, where leaving the house past 5pm starts to feel worthy of a standing ovation. But over in Taranaki, things are only just warming up as the arrival of winter brings with it one of the most exciting cultural festivals in Aotearoa’s calendar. 

Winter Fest plays host to award-winning homegrown talents, who set the town alight with a wonderland of ideas, words, and stories told through a kaleidoscope of genres, from comedy to music to theatre. 

With over 30 shows across 10 days (6-16 June), there’s something for everyone – but we’ve gone ahead and picked six events we’re most looking forward to. And, in keeping with the spirit of Neat Places, we’re inviting you to make a day out of each spectacle, with bonus recommendations for pre-show dinners, daytime cultural fixes, independent boutique shopping, and cosy nightcaps in New Plymouth and the wider region.

Toret Cucina Italiana

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Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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Located in Ōakura, a charming seaside village 20 minutes out of New Plymouth, Toret offers a dining experience that is as authentically Italian as they come.

The Hour Glass

The exterior of The Hour Glass in New Plymouth at dusk.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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Tucked away on Liardet Street, The Hour Glass is a beloved restaurant and tapas bar that has fed and watered New Plymouth people since 2013.

The Ōkato & Slippery Bill’s

The exterior of Ōkato & Slippery Bill’s, Okato.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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At first glance, it might not seem like there’s a lot going on in the small rural town of Ōkato in the Taranaki region.

House Wine

The black exterior of House Wine Bar New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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Let’s be honest. The world of wine can have its exclusive, and shall we say, somewhat snobby pockets.

The Burnt Place

Bench seating at The Burnt Place, Taranaki.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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The Burnt Place is quickly coming home away from home for Hāwera locals with its cosy neighbourhood vibes.

Fenton Art Collective

Landscape on an easel at Fenton Art Collective, Taranaki.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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What do you get if you put art, history, gin and espresso under one roof? An eclectic melting pot like Fenton Art Collective in Taranaki.

Bleached Coffee and Crystal Cylinder

The inside of Bleached Coffee cafe.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki Editor's Pick
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Shimmy yourself into Bleached and Crystal Cylinder, an industrial coffee shop slash lifestyle store tucked behind Devon Street West that’s oh so sunny.

Liardet Street Projects

Two food caravans sitting next to each ohter.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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A cohort of cool hospitality vendors come together to create Liardet Street Projects in New Plymouth; an open air foodhall that boasts a variety of authentic street food and...

Tartan Rose Cakery and Deli

A coffee menu on a wall at Tartan Rose in New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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Tartan Rose is somewhat tucked away on the fringe of New Plymouth’s centre but you’ll be more than rewarded after your short walk to this incredible cakery and deli.

Wild Pear Kitchen

Woman holding a smoothie at Wild Pear Kitchen, New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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Wild Pear Kitchen in New Plymouth is a haven for lovers of vegan and vegetarian cuisine, a welcoming and award-winning café that specialises in fresh and tasty...

Shining Peak Brewing

The blue and white exterior of Shining Peak Brewing in New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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Drink beer, do good. That’s what Shining Peak Brewing Company boldly encourages patrons to do when they enter their New Plymouth microbrewery.

Nice Hotel and Restaurant

The colourful and luxurious living room inside Nice Hotel.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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At the top of a hill, on the cusp of the green Pukekara...

The Best Cafés and Restaurants in New Plymouth

A group of customers dining at tables inside Monica's Eatery with green plants dangling overhead.
For a smaller city, New Plymouth’s hospitality scene punches well above its weight.

Snug Lounge

The red lit interior of Snug Lounge in New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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Sometimes things aren’t quite as they seem, and that couldn’t be truer of Snug Lounge in New Plymouth’s West End Precinct.

The Public Catering Company

Close up of treats in the cabinet at Public Catering Company, New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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New Plymouth’s White Hart precinct is blessed with a handful of excellent hospitality outlets, and The Public Catering Company is certainly one of them.

Fork N Knife

Bench seat with cushions at Fork N Knife, New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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Tucked in behind The Arizona, you’ll discover Fork N Knife, an intimate private function space that goes the distance when it comes to contemporary New Zealand cuisine.

Three Sisters Brewery

Glass of beer on the counter at Three Sisters Brewing, New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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Three Sisters Brewery is a local brewery doing marvellous things with, you’ve guessed it, beer.

The People Behind the Places: Meet the Food and Drink Heroes of Taranaki

A man and woman standing outside their cafe Proof and Stock.
Taranaki is a mecca for artisan bakers, brewers, coffee roasters, gin distillers and ice cream makers.

Monica's Eatery

Sky blue bench seats at Monica's Eatery, New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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Monica’s Eatery is ​​eponymously named after the progressive, innovative, creative and generous New Plymouth local, Monica Brewster, who unabashedly loved the arts.

Ms White

Two people eating pizza at Ms White, New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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Sometimes straight up and no-frills is the order of the day.

Ozone Coffee Roasters

Pouring steamed milk into coffee cup at Ozone Coffee Roasters, New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki Editor's Pick
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Ozone Coffee Roasters is a resounding global success story, but its origins will forever be in the coastal town of New Plymouth.

Proof and Stock

Exterior of Proof and Stock, New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki Editor's Pick
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Stumble a few hundred yards back from the beach, and seek out Proof and Stock, the quintessential coffee outpost inside a converted New Plymouth garage.

Knead Artisan Donuts

Box of donuts from Knead Artisan Donuts, New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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Knead’s sell-out specialty donuts are the talk of the town in New Plymouth for very good reason.

The Federal Store

Interior view of The Federal Store with customers dining.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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Delightfully playful, The Federal Store in New Plymouth will impress any café lover who swings by.

Elixir Café

Club sandwich with chicken and bacon from Elixir, New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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Elixir Café in New Plymouth is a classic in every sense. Named after a magic potion, the place does operate with a special kind of alchemy.

Itch Wine Bar

Man up a ladder retrieving bottle of spirits at Itch Wine Bar, New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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Every town deserves a late-night wine bar as good as New Plymouth's Itch.

Emmalou Macaron & Coffee House

Busy cafe scene with lots of customers sitting at tables at Emmalou Macaron & Coffee, New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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It’s all in the name.

Escape Coffee Roasters

Looking through the doors into Escape Coffee Roasters, New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
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Unmistakably eye-catching, Escape Coffee Roasters takes pride of place on the corner of New Plymouth’s Liardet Street.

Billow

Close up of pastries on display at Billow, New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki Editor's Pick
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Hidden down a garlanded alleyway, you’ll discover ‘Quarter Bank’ a collective of