Plan a day like no other with our list of the best things to do in Taranaki on a rainy day.
When Taranaki maunga is hiding behind grey clouds and rain spreads across the motu, don’t let it keep you from exploring the region like no other. Taranaki is humming with great indoor activity options for all ages, such as unique museums, an award-winning gallery, restaurants, bars, and eateries galore. There is fun for the whole whānau in Taranaki, no matter the weather.
For the whole family
The Fun Ho! Toy Museum displays all Fun Ho! toy models with the toys made on-site regularly. If the toy maker is in-house, you are welcome to watch him in action and if the furnace is fired up, watch him make the toy of the day.
Walk in the footsteps of the pioneers of the 1850-1950 era at the Taranaki Pioneer Village. Explore over 40 original buildings and see artifacts of the era. There’s an on-site cafe and animals to feed, plus mountain views, picnic spots, and interactive displays to keep the kids amused. Take the Pioneer Express around the Village and see the craftsmen on every second Sunday of the month.
Challenge your friends and whānau to a round of ten-pin bowling or strap on a vest and step into an underground warzone-themed Laser Tag experience. Bowlarama is a modern family entertainment centre that has 16 lanes of Tenpin Bowling, an 18-hole Black Light Mini Putt course, Arcade Games, and Underground War Zone-themed Laser Tag.
Experience the number one puzzle escape room experience in Taranaki at Escapinator Escape Room New Plymouth. Work together as a team to take on the Train, Zombie or Pirate Room and make your escape in the quickest time possible.
Step back in time with a visit to the historic Everybody’s Theatre in Ōpunakē. Elegantly restored with movies playing on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at 7 pm, and Saturday at 1 pm.
Naki Nitro Indoor Karting is fast fun for all ages.
For the adults
Head to the Shakespearean-inspired town Stratford to check out Forgotten 43 Brewing, run by mates with a passion for freshly hopped craft beer and a love of all things Taranaki. Try out their Krakin, a warming chocolate and chilli stout, the perfect brew for a rainy day. And, while you’re at it, pay a visit to Fenton Street Arts Collective, only a few minutes away, for award-winning gin, art, and coffee in the beautifully restored heritage building.
If art's your thing, why not try Pinot and Picasso? Enjoy an evening (or afternoon) painting, laughing, and sipping. The expert hosts deliver step-by-step instructions with plenty of room left for your inner Picasso to run wild. By the end of the session even all you 'non-creatives' will be taking home your very own artwork!
Escape the rain in South Taranaki with a hearty meal and a glass of wine in hand at Upside Down Eatery, where locally grown produce is the hero and flavour combinations will leave you delighted.
Take a tour indoors with Juno Gin. With two fun and informative tours on offer to book including a guided walk-through of the distillery, any Gin fanatic will love this experience. If cocktails are more your thing, book the cocktail class to create and enjoy three different cocktail styles and nibbles.
Immerse yourself in history
Keep out of the rain and explore Puke Ariki. Look up as you enter and be welcomed by the huge prehistoric megalodon shark suspended from the museum ceiling, followed by three permanent galleries showcasing life in Taranaki, its unique geology, flora and fauna, the museum’s Māori taonga, and a range of changing exhibitions. Then cosy up in the on-site library with a book for the afternoon.
Take a trip to Aotea Utanganui Museum of South Taranaki. A purpose-built museum that embodies the spirit and energy of the South Taranaki and home to significant collections including the earliest dated wooden artefacts found in New Zealand, the Waitore Artefacts (c.1400s); The Hāwera Star Newspaper Archive (1880–2018); the Ellmore-Timms Photography Collection; and artworks by prominent Māori artist Oriwa Tahupotiki Haddon (1898–1958).
Or take a visit to the widely regarded best private museum in New Zealand, Tawhiti Museum. The award-winning museum uses life-size exhibits and scale models to present Taranaki history in a series of engaging displays. The Traders & Whalers underground boat ride is akin to something you’d find at Disneyland! The logging train runs the first Sunday of every month.
Soak in mineral hot pool or float tank
Taranaki Thermal Spa offers private indoor hot pools to relax and soak in thermal mineral waters from Taranaki maunga, along with sauna and massage treatments on offer.
Or hit your reset button by floating weightlessly in a luxurious mineral-rich environment at the Floatation Sanctuary. Float tanks are an amazing way to disconnect from some of the constant noise and distractions that creep into our daily lives and you will come away feeling completely rejuvenated.
Enjoy local restaurants/cafes/eateries around the maunga
There are plenty of places to refuel no matter where you are in Taranaki. Hungry surfers, family explorers, and Surf Highway 45 road-trippers will be spoilt for choice when it comes to places to eat and drink. Check out The Vault in Ōpunakē, Social Kitchen in West End Precinct after 5pm, or if you’re thinking Italian, fall in love with Toret Cucina Italiana’s handmade pasta and wood-fired pizza. The Baking Company in Stratford offers delectable bakery treats, or sit down for a gourmet meal at The Burnt Place in Hāwera.
Shop to your hearts content
If a spot of retail therapy is what you need to brighten your rainy day, pick up an artistic treasure around the maunga at Kina NZ Design + Art Space, Percy’s Place, Fenton St Arts Collective, The Collaboration, Gallery Pātea or Life of Chi.
A bit thrifty? Check out new and pre-loved clothing store August, with clothing by high-end New Zealand and Australian brands stocking the racks.
Discover the local arts and culture scene
Everywhere you look in Taranaki take in local art at the many art galleries, and open studios. Follow the pulse of creativity south to Stratford to the award-winning Percy Thomson Gallery, The Emporium in Ōpunakē or Hāwera community art gallery Lysaght Watt Gallery.
New Zealand’s only contemporary art museum, The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Len Lye with its iconic façade is the perfect place to start if you are central or look out for the vibrant street art entrance at Gover St Gallery, a not-for-profit community art gallery. Browse The White Sail Gallery on the waterfront, or get hands-on at The Jewel and Jeweller or Ringcraft Moana with a jewellery-making workshop.
Rent gear and catch a wave
Not afraid to get wet? Check out the sea conditions, and if safe, grab a board and trip down Surf Highway 45 and catch some of our world-famous waves! Rent a board from one of the local operators, Beach Street Surf Shop offers gear rental and surf lessons at Fitzroy Beach or try Vertigo in Ōakura and be sure to hire a wetsuit to keep warm on those wild rainy days!