Vibrant, contemporary, and buzzing with copious things to do, see, eat, and experience, Taranaki is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, foodies, families, and arts- and culture-lovers.
And with an exciting array of upcoming summer events (L.A.B, Synthony, and WOMAD), Taranaki is humming!
The Residence Fitzroy are high-end serviced apartments with a luxurious feel, but with the freedom of private accommodation close to the beach, and accessibility to the eateries and city delights of New Plymouth. For an inner-city stay, Nice Hotel or King and Queen Hotel Suites both offer boutique opulence right in the heart of all the action.
There’s no shortage of chic restaurants and bars in Taranaki – treat yourself to a decadent dining experience like no other. In New Plymouth, try Meat & Liquor for prime cuts of meat and tasty cocktails, Fork n Knife offers contemporary NZ cuisine, down a local craft beer at Shining Peak Brewery and be wowed by their upmarket menu, or discover Gamma Ray’s Burgers as part of the food truck hub that is Liardet Street Projects. The new kid on the block is Known Unknown, an urban winery that also has a tasting room to toast the town.
One simply does not come to Taranaki and not visit the world-renowned Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre. Find an original piece of art to take home with you at Kina NZ Design + Art Space, or Gover St Gallery. The innovative and free-to-enter Puke Ariki Museum is also not to be missed. Keeping the kids happy is easy – take them to the Hillsborough Holden Museum for the downhill luge and mini putt course. Bowlarama not only offers traditional ten-pin bowling, but also laser tag and black-light mini putt – perfect for a rainy day. For those looking to challenge their logical thinking, try one of the themed Escape Masters Rooms. Owned and operated by ex-All Black Carl Hayman, Chaddy’s Charters provides wildlife boat tours to NZ’s most northern fur seal colony, as well as bike, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard hire and lessons. If you’re keen to stretch your legs and see some art in public places, the Coastal Walkway is a 13km promenade that extends along the New Plymouth coastline, and includes highlights such as Len Lye’s kinetic sculpture Wind Wand and the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge.
Venture closer to Taranaki Maunga for a day of alpine adventures, staying at the relaxing Ngati Ruanui Stratford Mountain House, or head down the maunga to try out the Old Eltham Post Office and enjoy their boutique Helena Suite.
Mountain Restaurant and Bar (part of the Ngati Ruanui Stratford Mountain House) offers fine dining with an outlook of native flora and bird life from your table. The nearby Shakespeare-themed town of Stratford is home to artisan bakery The Baking Company, and Shakee Pear café (inside of Stratford’s Pioneer Village – a step back in time to the pioneering past of Taranaki).
Discover the wealth of maunga tracks and trails – uncover the magic of Dawson Falls, explore the enchanting Goblin Forest (otherwise known as the Kapuni Loop Track), or take a dip in the alpine Wilkies Pools - all of which are family-friendly and accessible tracks. For the more prepared and adventurous explorers, trek Pouākai Crossing and take an iconic photo of the maunga perfectly reflected in the Pouākai Tarn. If you wanted to keep your adventuring closer to sea-level, pay a visit to the fenced-off predator-free bird sanctuary that is Rotokare Scenic Reserve. Stratford’s Fenton Street Collective is a multi-faceted, award-winning gin distillery and art gallery.
Stay: Trip around South Taranaki to further explore what is on offer, and stay at either the tranquil Platinum Lodge, tasteful Tairoa Lodge, retreat to Ahu Ahu Beach Villas, or rest at The Nest with coastal vistas and serenity abound.
Eat: Your foodie journey around Taranaki isn’t limited! A short scenic drive to Ōakura will take you to the authentic Italian restaurant Toret Cucina Italiana, vegan’s paradise Lemonwood Eatery, or beach-front Black Sands Pizzeria. If you find yourself in Hāwera, add Upside Down Eatery or Ohangai to your list for a memorable dining experience.
Do: While in South Taranaki, you won’t regret a visit to Tawhiti Museum and adjoining Traders & Whalers, where history comes to life in incredible detail. Taranaki also has an abundance of public gardens, such as King Edward Park in Hāwera, Hollard Gardens in Kaponga, and New Plymouth’s Tūpare, Pukeiti, and Pukekura Park. Or if your wallet is burning a hole in your pocket, pick up a unique keepsake at TEMPT Concept Store, Arthaus, Home Love & MetteK, Bianca Lorenne, Mee O Mi, or Plantation Design Store.