Escape to Taranaki – the home of New Plymouth-based Digital OOH Billboard Advertising Leaders Mad Media
With world-class surf breaks, famous blacksand beaches, the picture-perfect peak of Taranaki Maunga, and now the title of New Zealand’s sunniest region, Taranaki has so much on offer all year round.
With a dynamic events calendar, oodles of spectacular parks and gardens, adventures and activities galore, spades of experiences ideal for family fun, a vibrant foodie scene, and a world-renowned arts and cultural scene, Taranaki is a region truly like no other.
One simply does not come to Taranaki and not visit the world-renowned Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/ Len Lye Centre. This contemporary art museum houses works from famed kinetic sculptor and filmmaker Len Lye, as well as regularly refreshed national and international artist exhibitions. The undulating stainless-steel external facade makes for a great spot to stop for a selfie.
Or head across the road and find an original piece of art to take home with you and 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, with five permanent exhibitions including the new Reef Alive! display that includes an interactive speed boat.
While in South Taranaki, you won’t regret a visit to Tawhiti Museum and the adjoining Traders & Whalers boat experience, where history comes to life in incredible detail.
Pop into Stratford’s Fenton Street Collective, a multi-faceted, award-winning gin distillery and art gallery.
Pop into Stratford’s Fenton Street Collective, a multi-faceted, award-winning gin distillery and art gallery. If you’re keen to stretch your legs and see some art in public places, the Coastal Walkway is a 13 km promenade that extends along the New Plymouth coastline, and includes highlights such as Len Lye’s kinetic sculpture, and the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge.
Or discover the wealth of tracks and trails on Taranaki Maunga- 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 whanau friendly and accessible tracks.
For the more prepared and adventurous explorers, trek Pouakai Crossing and take an iconic photo of the maunga perfectly reflected in the Pouakai Tarn. Perhaps you would rather keep your adventuring closer to sea-level? Pay a visit to the fenced-off predator-free bird sanctuary that is Rotokare Scenic Reserve.
Keeping the kids happy is easy – take them to The Hideaway for the downhill luge and Bathurst-themed mini-putt course. Bowlarama, in New Plymouth’s CBD, 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. Get your sea-legs with Chaddy’s Charters on one of its wildlife boat tours NZ’s most northern fur seal colony, as well as bike, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard hire and lessons.
Taranaki also has an abundance of public gardens, such as King Edward Park in Hawera, Hollard Gardens in Kaponga, and New Plymouth’s Tupare, Pukeiti, and Pukekura Park. A favourite local secret is Te Popo Gardens, just out of Midhurst – full of life-size animal sculptures around every corner. Explore the Whitecliffs Walkway and find yourself in awe of the Three Sisters rock formations. Or, meander the Opunake Loop Trail and discover the secret garden and artsy mosaic couches.
Every adventurer knows they’re only as good as their last meal, and for that, there is no shortage in Taranaki. You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to filling your puku, with an abundance of cafes, restaurants, bars, and eateries right around the maunga. Taranaki is a foodie’s haven, with paddock-to-plate style menus, hearty gastronomic dishes, and locally-made produce regularly featured, flowing from farm to fork.
The Burnt Place in Hawera will satisfy even the fussiest of palates, or take in the beachfront views at Black Sands Pizzeria in Oakura. Shining Peak Brewery in New Plymouth has both craft beer and a decadent high-end menu. Or sample the award-winning gin at Juno Gin’s new Cellar Door experience during a bespoke tour of the distillery or tasting event.