Stunning free things to do in and around New Plymouth

Rewa Rewa Bridge and Mt Tarakai on background

New Plymouth is a small seaside city on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Although small, this place has loads of indoor and outdoor activities with a wow factor 😮 In the city you will find an “out of this world” art gallery, a modern museum, artsy designer shops and much more. For the outdoor lovers there are numerous walking tracks, breathtaking coastline with great surf and amazing hikes.

Estralians absolutely enjoyed our week in New Plymouth and are looking forward to further discover it in the future 🧐 For now, lets see what where some of our favorite things to do in New Plymouth and the surrounding areas.

Take a hike at Mt Taranaki

One of the main reasons why people travel to New Plymouth is to admire and/or hike at the iconic Mount Taranaki, also known as Mount Egmont. This amazing stratovolcano stands out like tits on the bull. Estralians visited New Plymouth in early winter, which we really loved as we where able to admire Mt Taranaki and it’s snow-capped peak🥰🗻

Things to see in New Plymouth
Mt Taranaki on a clear day

It really is a picture perfect volcano 🖼 PS! As this stratovolcano resembles the famous Mt Fuji it actually stood in the movie The Last Samurai for Mt Fuji. This time around Estralians didn’t manage to go for hike at the Egmont National Park. So if you would like to tackle one of the many trails then have a look at the Egmont National Park website 😉
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Puke Ariki

If you would like to do learn more about Taranaki then head over to New Plymouths museum. Beside the local history, the museum also showcases Maori culture, has changing exhibitions and gives an overview of native wildlife.

Things to do in New Plymouth
Puke Ariki Museum

Obviously it’s nothing like Te Papa Museum in Wellington but it’s still worth visiting, pluss the museum is free for visitors. Opened 7 days a week from 10AM to 5PM.
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When you are at New Plymouth and see a building, that looks like out of place, then you have probably arrived to the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. This stunning wavy building has an amazing design. On any given day, the outside glass walls of the gallery paint a picture of whatever it reflects on a single moment.

Things to do in New Plymouth
Art Gallery in New Plymouth

Inside the building, you can expect to see innovative work by the world’s leading contemporary artistsexhibitions that change every four months as well as regularly changed selection of works from the Len Lye Foundation Collection and Archive.

The gallery is opened 7 days a week from 10AM to 5PM.
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Climb Paritutu Rock

Climbing to Mt Taranaki summit is a challenge you are not ready to tackle? No worries at all. In the city of New Plymouth, there is a large standout rock that offers stunning 360° views and a semi-challenging climb.

Things to do in New Plymouth
Views from the to of Paritutu Rock

Standing ~150 meters tall it will take about 12 minutes to reach the top. That said, don’t let the short time frame fool you. Most of the way up, you will be climbing almost vertically. That said, if climbing up in one go is too much for you, feel free to stop and let others pass 😉

Paritutu Rock in New Plymouth
Simon passing other climbers

The climb starts with a wooden staircase that quickly turns into a climb. To get up you actually need to pull yourself up. In order to do that, there is a chain along the side of the path that will assist you.

Climbing Paritutu Rock in New Plymouth
Marion climbing up

Once you reach the top, you’ll see the city of New Plymouth, the seven Sugar Loaf Islands and on a clear day Mt Taranaki and Mt Ruapehu, Mt Tongariro and Mt ​Ngauruhoe in distance​.
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Coastal Walkway

For those who love long walks, New Plymouth has an extensive ~13 km long walkway that follows the seas edge. It’ll take about 2.5 hours to walk the entire stretch but there are also multiple access points for those who are looking to take a shorter walk.

One of access points to Coastal Walkway

If you are not into long walks then know that the walkway is paved so it is also excellent for cycling, skateboarding, skating and scooting 🙂 While on the trail you will be passing by some of the iconic landmarks like Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, inland lagoons, farmland, parks, New Plymouth promenade and a inner-city surf beach.

New Plymouth promenade during sunset

When you need to rest your feet there are plenty of benches along the path 😉
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Te Rewa Rewa Bridge

As mentioned above, the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge is situated along the Coastal Walkway. This iconic 83 m long bridge is probably on of the most photographed bridges in New Zealand. Reason being, the arches of the bridge frame Mt Taranaki so perfectly that it gives a chance to capture some picture perfect moments 📷. No pun intended 😅😁

Things to do in New Plymouth
Te Rewa Rewa bridge and Mt Taranaki on the background

PS! We are well aware that not everyone has time or wants to go for a long walks. So, if you are one of those people, the bridge is accessible by a short walk from a nearby car park 😉
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Pukekura Park

Fancy another kind of walk? Maybe a walk in a park? 😀 No worries at all. Welcome to New Plymouths premium botanical garden. Pukekura Park features spectacular bush walks, alluring formal gardens, fernery house, a zoo, waterfalls, lakeside Tea House and much more.

Things to do in New Plymouth
Pukekura Park and Mt Taranaki on the background

If you’re visiting New Plymouth during summer, then make sure to visit the TSB Festival of the Lights at Pukekura Park. During the six-week long festival the whole park will lit up at night time with extravagant lights as well as live entertainment.
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Brooklands Zoo

At the Pukekura Park, there is also a small but nevertheless interesting zoo. At the Brookland Zoo you can expects to see birds, reptiles, farmyard animals like kunekune pigs and alpacas as well as exotic animals like cotton-top tamarins, meerkats etc.

Things to do in New Plymouth
Lazy meerkats soaking up the sun 😂

The zoo is free for visitors and is opened 7 days a week from 9:30 AM to 4PM.
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Other Places we wanted to go but didn’t have enough time:

Lake Mangamahoe

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Cape Egmont Lighthouse

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Taranaki Pioneer Village

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Tawhiti Museum

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Hawera Water Tower

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The Bridge to Nowhere

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Three Sisters and the Elephant Rock

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Normandy Dam

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