An Art and Food Lover's Guide to Taranaki

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

Taranaki, one of the most creative centres in Aotearoa.

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 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 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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

Neat New Plymouth & Taranaki Places

Monica's Eatery

Sky blue bench seats at Monica's Eatery, New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
Cafes icon

Monica’s Eatery is ​​eponymously named after the progressive, innovative, creative and generous New Plymouth local, Monica Brewster, who unabashedly loved the arts.

The Burnt Place

Bench seating at The Burnt Place, Taranaki.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
Bars icon Restaurants icon

The Burnt Place is quickly coming home away from home for Hāwera locals with its cosy neighbourhood vibes.

Juno Gin

Dave looking at still at Juno Gin, New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki

The origins of New Plymouth’s boutique gin distillery, Juno, is a compelling tale of relentless passion and a scientific approach.

Snug Lounge

The red lit interior of Snug Lounge in New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
Bars icon

Sometimes things aren’t quite as they seem, and that couldn’t be truer of Snug Lounge in New Plymouth’s West End Precinct.