New Plymouth Travel Guide

Discover the best places to visit, natural attractions, local culture, and tips for your trip to New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand.

Introduction to New Plymouth

New Plymouth is located on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand and is the largest city in the Taranaki region. It is known for its natural beauty, thriving cultural scene, and outdoor adventures.

List of Places to Visit in New Plymouth

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

New Plymouth has a rich history, and there are several museums and historical sites that you can visit to learn more about the city’s past. The most popular ones include:

  • Puke Ariki Museum: Puke Ariki is a world-class museum that tells the story of Taranaki, from its geological origins to its social history. The museum has three main galleries: the Taranaki Story, Takapou Whāriki, and the Temporary Exhibitions Gallery.

  • Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre: This contemporary art museum is home to the largest collection of Len Lye’s work, a pioneering artist known for his experimental films and kinetic sculptures. The museum also hosts regular exhibitions by local and international artists.

  • Tupare Garden and Homestead: This historic property is set amongst beautiful gardens and is a great place to learn about the region’s colonial history. It is open to the public for guided tours, and you can explore the gardens and enjoy a picnic on the grounds.

Natural Attractions of New Plymouth: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Nature lovers will appreciate the stunning landscapes that surround New Plymouth. Here are some of the best natural attractions to visit:

  • Mount Taranaki: This majestic 2,518-meter-high mountain dominates the skyline of Taranaki and is visible from many parts of the region. The hiking trails on the mountain offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape, and there are also several operators that offer guided summit climbs.

  • Pukekura Park: Pukekura Park is a beautiful 52-hectare park in the heart of New Plymouth that features a lake, landscaped gardens, and a variety of walking and cycling trails. It also hosts several events throughout the year, including the Festival of Lights, which is held every summer.

  • Coastal Walkway: This 12.7 km walkway follows the coastline from Port Taranaki to Bell Block and offers stunning views of the ocean and Mount Taranaki. There are several beaches along the way, and you can rent bikes and other equipment to explore the area.

Hiking/Biking Routes of New Plymouth

New Plymouth is a great destination for hikers and bikers, with several excellent trails to choose from. Some of the most popular ones include:

  • Pouakai Crossing: This 19 km trek takes you through the Egmont National Park and offers stunning views of the Pouakai Range and Mount Taranaki. It is a challenging hike, but well worth the effort.

  • Te Henui Walkway: This easy 7 km walkway follows the Te Henui River and offers beautiful views of the surrounding bush and wildlife.

  • The Coastal Walkway: In addition to walking, the Coastal Walkway is also an excellent biking path. Bikes can be hired from several locations along the walkway, or you can bring your own bike and ride the trail at your own pace.

Best Things to Do in New Plymouth: Activities and Tours

There are plenty of things to see and do in New Plymouth. Here are some of the best activities and tours to consider:

  • Surfing lessons: Surfing is a popular activity on the West Coast, and there are several companies that offer surfing lessons for all levels.

  • South Taranaki Waterfalls Tour: This full-day tour takes you to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the region, including the popular Dawson Falls.

  • Taranaki Thermal Spa: Relax and rejuvenate at this thermal spa, which features several pools and an outdoor hot tub.

Week-Long Itinerary for New Plymouth

Day 1: Explore Puke Ariki Museum and Len Lye Centre

Day 2: Hike the Pouakai Crossing

Day 3: Relax at Taranaki Thermal Spa

Day 4: Take the South Taranaki Waterfalls Tour

Day 5: Explore the Coastal Walkway and beaches

Day 6: Visit Tupare Gardens and Homestead

Day 7: Enjoy Pukekura Park and the Festival of Lights (in summer)

Food and Drink Scene of New Plymouth

Must-Try Dishes

New Plymouth has a thriving food scene that is heavily influenced by local produce. Here are some dishes that you must try:

  • Taranaki Beef: Taranaki beef is known for its tenderness and flavour, and it is a staple on many restaurant menus in the area.

  • Whitebait Fritters: Whitebait fritters are a popular seafood dish made from tiny freshwater fish that are mixed with a batter and fried.

  • Taranaki Mussel Fritters: Mussel fritters are another popular seafood dish in the area, made using fresh mussels and a crispy batter.

Local Beverages

New Plymouth is also home to several wineries and breweries, producing some fantastic wines and craft beers. Some of the best places to visit include:

  • Mike’s Brewery: Mike’s Brewery is a popular craft brewery that produces a range of award-winning beers, including Pale Ales and IPAs. The brewery is open for tastings and tours.

  • Okurukuru Winery: Okurukuru Winery is a beautiful vineyard that produces several varieties of wine, including Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Visitors can enjoy tastings and tours of the vineyard.

Where to Stay in New Plymouth: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

There are plenty of accommodation options to choose from in New Plymouth, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels. Some of the best places to consider include:

  • King and Queen Hotel Suites: This boutique hotel is located in the heart of New Plymouth and offers luxurious suites with all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay.

  • Fitzroy Beach Holiday Park: If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, the Fitzroy Beach Holiday Park is a great choice. It is located just a short walk from the beach and offers camping and cabin options.

  • Ducks and Drakes Boutique Motel and Backpackers: This stylish and affordable hostel offers both private and dormitory-style accommodation and is located in a great location near the city centre.

What to Buy in New Plymouth: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

New Plymouth is home to several local artisans and shops selling unique souvenirs and locally made products. Some of the best things to buy include:

  • Taranaki honey: Taranaki honey is renowned for its unique flavour and is available at several local shops and markets.

  • Handmade pottery: There are several local potters producing beautiful handmade pottery, which makes for a great souvenir or gift.

  • Local art: New Plymouth has a thriving arts scene, and you can find some fantastic pieces of art in local galleries and markets.

Local Culture and Customs of New Plymouth

New Plymouth has a rich cultural heritage, with a strong emphasis on Maori culture. Visitors should be respectful of local customs and practices and take the time to learn about the history and traditions of the area.

Best Time to Visit New Plymouth

The best time to visit New Plymouth is during the summer months, from December to February, when the weather is warm and sunny. However, the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn can also be a great time to visit, as the weather is still mild, and the crowds are smaller.

Do’s and Don’ts of New Plymouth


  • Respect local cultural practices and customs.

  • Take the time to explore the city’s natural beauty, including Mount Taranaki and the Coastal Walkway.

  • Try the local food and drink, including Taranaki beef and craft beer.


  • Ignore safety warnings on the beaches or in the national parks.

  • Speak loudly or disruptively in public spaces.

Safety and Health

Safety in New Plymouth

New Plymouth is a safe city to visit, with low levels of crime. However, visitors should be aware of their surroundings and take basic precautions to keep their belongings safe.

Health in New Plymouth

New Zealand has a high standard of healthcare, and visitors can access medical care at several clinics and hospitals in New Plymouth.

Getting to New Plymouth: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near New Plymouth

The New Plymouth Airport is located just 11 km from the city centre and offers several daily flights to Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.

Bus Stations Near New Plymouth

InterCity Coachlines operates several daily bus services to and from New Plymouth, connecting the city with other major centres in the North Island.

Other Options

Driving is also a great option for visitors to New Plymouth, as the roads are well-maintained and easy to navigate.

How to Get Around in New Plymouth

New Plymouth is a compact city, and most of the main attractions are within walking distance of each other. However, renting a car or bike is also a great option for those who want to explore the surrounding areas.

Where to Go Next from New Plymouth: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

There are several great destinations to visit within a few hours’ drive of New Plymouth, including:

  • Egmont National Park: This beautiful national park is home to Mount Taranaki and several excellent hiking and biking trails.

  • Whanganui National Park: This beautiful park is located just a few hours’ drive from New Plymouth and is home to the famous Whanganui River.

  • Hawke’s Bay: Hawke’s Bay is known for its excellent wine and stunning scenery, and is just a few hours’ drive from New Plymouth.


New Plymouth is a beautiful city that offers something for everyone, from outdoor adventures to cultural attractions. Whether you’re a hiker, a foodie, or an art lover, New Plymouth has plenty to offer. With this comprehensive travel guide, you’ll have all the information you need to plan a fantastic trip to this stunning part of New Zealand.