9 Taranaki Walks and Where to Treat Yourself After

The mountains of Taranaki surrounded by New Zealand native plants.

Taranaki is a natural playground, with its wild coastline, rugged terrain and majestic Maunga.

Words by: Grace Hall

Photos by: Anna Briggs & Supplied

Taranaki's many walks and hikes, for both adventurous types and those who prefer a gentler stroll, are a big drawcard for the region. Here is our pick of great Taranaki walks accompanied by suggestions of where to treat yourself afterwards with a delicious treat or cold brew. 

Two people jumping in the Pouakai Tarns.

Pouakai Tarns + Holy Guacamole

Check Holy Guacamole's website for their current location

For hardier adventurers, the Pouakai Tarns are not to be missed. There is a range of tracks you can tramp through, all taking you over rugged rolling hills and through the subalpine bush. If you’re particularly adventurous, book in for an overnight stay at the Pouakai Hut. For some post-tramping sustenance, pay a visit to Holy Guacamole in Oakura for great Mexican food.

Aerial view of Lake Rotokare Scenic Reserve.

Rotokare Scenic Reserve + Forgotten Highway 43

279 Broadway, Stratford, Taranaki (Forgotten Highway 43)

This 230-hectare sanctuary is home to extensive wetlands and a beautiful, natural lake. There’s plenty to take in on a walk-in particular the birdlife, which has flourished thanks to community-led work to conserve this local treasure. In warmer months there’s usually plenty of boating action on Lake Rotokare to keep you entertained. When you’re done with exploring, quench your thirst with a pint at Forgotten Highway 43, a craft beer brewery in nearby Stratford. 

Coastal Walkway + Federal Deli & Bakehouse

Cafes key icon.

453 Devon Street East, New Plymouth (Federal Deli & Bakehouse)

Take in New Plymouth’s black wild coastline from the Coastal Walkway, a 13.2km path for walkers, runners and cyclists alike. It’s easy to entertain yourself for a whole day on this Taranaki coastal path, with plenty of good beaches to stop at and impressive artworks to discover as you stroll. On arriving at East End Beach, pop up the hill to nearby The Federal Store to stock up on seaside picnic lunch supplies. 

A view of Paritutu Rock through the bushes in Taranaki.

Paritutu Rock, Back Beach Loop + catch&co

41 Ocean View Parade, Moturoa, New Plymouth (catch&co)

While hardy locals might tell you it’s an easy 15-minute climb to the top of Paritutu Rock, don’t underestimate how steep this climb actually is. It’s worth your while, though, for the expansive views across New Plymouth that you’ll be greeted with once you make it to the top. When you’ve made it back to the ground, go for a wander along rugged Back Beach and finish with well-earned freshly cooked fish and chips from catch&co for lunch.

Pukekura Park + MOMO Sushi

116 Devon Street West, New Plymouth (MOMO Sushi)

Join the lunchtime queue at MOMO Sushi and grab some sushi to enjoy picnic-style in the leafy surrounds of the centrally-located Pukekura Park, the jewel in New Plymouth’s crown. Wander through the Park’s many tracks and trails, pay a visit to the Fernery and Display Houses and, if the rowboats are operating, give your arm muscles a workout with a cruise around Pukekura Park’s postcard-perfect Main Lake. 

The view of the Pukeiti Gardens and river in Taranaki.

Pukeiti + Rainforest Eatery

2290 Carrington Road, New Plymouth (Rainforest Eatery)

Nestled just below Taranaki Maunga you’ll find Pukeiti, a 360-hectare rainforest park that’s home to one of the largest collections of exotic plants and rhododendrons in the country. There are tracks and trails for adventurous types, and for those who prefer a gentler stroll too. Finish at Rainforest Eatery for a well-deserved post-walk bowl of fries or an ice block while overlooking the treetops. 

Tūpare Gardens + Billow

Quarter Bank, 93b Devon Street West, New Plymouth (Billow)

This landscaped garden and historic homestead is just the place for those after a blend of gentle exercise and a hidden-from-the-crowds spot for a picnic. Once you’ve wandered the beautifully curated gardens, head down to the River Flat where you’ll find picnic areas, free-to-use barbecues and the Waiwhakaiho River, perfect for a dip in the warmer months. Pick up a coffee from Billow and some bread and pastries for a picnic on your way.

Ōpunakē Loop Trail + Sugar Juice Café

42 - 44 Tasman Street, Ōpunakē (Sugar Juice Café)

This 7km loop trail blends everything unique about South Taranaki - impressive coastal views from across cliff tops, and a chance to get immersed in lush rural scenery. Stop at the popular Ōpunakē Beach for a swim if it’s warm enough, and once you’ve worn yourself out, head to local favourite Sugar Juice Café, famous for its well-stocked cabinet of delicious home baking.

Dawson Falls + Public Catering Co.

Cafes key icon.

43 Queen Street, New Plymouth (Public Catering Co.)

Located in the Egmont National Park, just below Maunga Taranaki, is the Dawson Falls area that offers a whole host of walking tracks, for walkers of varying levels of fitness. Don’t miss Dawson Falls itself - a beautiful 18-metre high waterfall, or a goblin forest that you access through lava-formed pools (take a dip if you’re prepared to brave the cold!) Source supplies from The Public Catering Co. so you can enjoy lunch amongst the native trees and the birdlife. 

Neat New Plymouth & Taranaki Places

The Virtue

The moody interior of The Virtue perfumery and florist.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki Editor's Pick
Fashion key icon.

There’s nothing remotely ordinary about The Virtue in New Plymouth.

New Plymouth Coastal Walkway

Four nude female sculptures sitting on a bench looking out towards the ocean.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
Stay and explore key icon.

A melting pot of folks - young and old - congregate on the 13.2km New Plymouth Coastal Walkway.

The Ōkato & Slippery Bill’s

The exterior of Ōkato & Slippery Bill’s, Okato.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
Accommodation key icon. Restaurants key icon.

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.

Itch Wine Bar

Man up a ladder retrieving bottle of spirits at Itch Wine Bar, New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
Bars key icon.

Every town deserves a late-night wine bar as good as New Plymouth's Itch.