New Plymouth

New Plymouth is an up-and-coming city on the rugged west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. It was founded in 1841 by settlers from ‘old’ Plymouth in England. Despite its relative youth, however, New Plymouth’s history is rather turbulent. The Taranaki Wars loom over it, much as the stunning Mount Taranaki looms over the landscape.

Pukekura Park

This is a truly impressive city park. It’s huge. You can visit the fernery, go boating on the lake, have a posh cup of tea, watch the kids play, and marvel at the rather beautiful manmade waterfall. It's even better if you during the Festival of Lights. It's like walking through fairyland. Pukekura Park is a wonderful place to while away a few hours, and there’s even quite a good zoo next-door.


Tupare lies just outside the city, on a hill overlooking a river. It’s a gem, something you don’t expect to find in New Zealand: an idyllic English-style country house and garden. The garden is a slice of perfectly manicured paradise, with many little paths winding down to the river, and the house is to die for, designed in the style of the Arts of Crafts movement and crammed full of antiques. The house is only open for tour groups sometimes, but it’s free to enter, as is the garden.

Richmond Cottage

Richmond Cottage is a tiny, Victorian house made of stone. It looks extremely out of place, with the tall, modern buildings of New Plymouth surrounding its petite garden. It seems almost magical, a bubble of preserved history, and inside it’s utterly fascinating. It’s free to enter, and there’s Victorian furniture and artefacts in every room, as well as lots of information boards dealing with the history of the family that owned the house.

The Coastal Walkway

The path accommodates both walkers and cyclists with ease, and the view over the grey Tasman Sea is breathtaking. The walkway includes the striking Te Rewa Rewa Bridge and the Wind Wand, a ‘kinetic’ sculpture by the late New Zealand artist Len Lye.

The Clock Tower

The New Plymouth Clock Tower is quite unusual. It’s partly transparent and lights up all different colours at night. Worth walking past of an evening, anyway. Just a shame you can’t climb to the top of it. I reckon New Plymouth’s missed a trick there – it’d be great for getting photographs of Mount Taranaki!

The Hour Glass

The Hour Glass is a swanky bar in the middle of New Plymouth, on Liardet Street. It’s got a lovely atmosphere, decorated in such a way as to feel cosy and old-fashioned, yet modern at the same time. The selection of beers and wines is excellent, and they do tapas too.


Pankawalla is an Indian restaurant on New Plymouth’s main street, Devon Street. The décor is an inspired mix of modern and traditional, with interesting quotes on the walls. If you want somewhere nice to eat out in New Plymouth that’s not too expensive, with a guaranteed good meal, this is the place.


Practically across the road from Tupare, Pukeiti is a huge garden that’s been in development since the 1950s. As well as being New Zealand’s premier rhododendron garden, the park extends into the bush at the foot of Mount Taranaki. Walks range from half an hour to a few hours, with tracks passing between giant trees and mountain streams. Admission is free.

New Plymouth

Article by Abigail Simpson

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