The Grown Ups Guide to New Plymouth

A couple of weeks ago we were approached by local New Plymouth artist and entrepreneur Anna Scott to see if we would like to sell our Getting Lost Game in her pop up Gallery – The Collaboration.  Of course we said yes.

Part of the collaborative nature of the Collaboration was that all contributors were encouraged to spend a day in store.  We were in boots and all – not only because playing shop is really fun but because it meant that we got to visit New Plymouth again – and this time it was a grown ups only trip.

Where to stay

As is always the way, trips with kids are different.  Last time we went to New Plymouth we went with the kids and stayed at The Flamingo Motel.  It was utterly perfect for the kids because it had a great pool.  But for James and I we were wanting something a little bit more luxurious…

We certainly found that luxury in the King and Queen Hotel.  It is unsurprisingly and deservedly the number one hotel in New Plymouth.  Be warned though, once you get there you won’t want or need to leave so do your exploring first.

King and Queen New Plymouth

Where to eat

The King and Queen Hotel is set up in a block that reminds me a lot of Britomart in Auckland.  It’s unsurprising then that one of the 20 somethings at work commended that New Plymouth had gotten very sophisticated of late – and I’d agree.  There’s every kind of cuisine you could wish for, presented in a contemporary lane complete with my personal favourite – fairy lights.

The crowd is very reminiscent of Britomart too, as is the wait so don’t wait until you are starving!

We chose to have dinner at Snug – a Japanese inspired cocktail bar.  The food was awesome and our favourite was hands down the sashimi!  After that we wandered a few doors down to Itch.  Just two weeks old when we went Itch is a wine and cheese bar and the staff will match your wine (or in my case Margareta) to some pretty incredible cheeses.  Everything in the precinct is able to be charged back to the hotel making it oh so easy. 

We wandered (okay, we’d had a few cocktails and wines by then so it may have been more of a stagger) to our room and had a few drinks on our deck overlooking the darkened shoreline of New Plymouth.

And next morning we headed over the road for a hung over breakfast and reviving coffee at Monica’s Eatery.

Where to play

When we went to New Plymouth with the kids we went last we ticked off a lot of the must do’s in New Plymouth.  We went to Pukekura Park and saw the lights at night and played in the day, we explored ship wrecks, visited the Te Rewa Rewa bridge, walked the waterfront and ate at The Social Kitchen.  So we’d so this time we were looking for something a little different. 

So we asked all of you on the Getting Lost Facebook Page and you came back with some amazing suggestions – most of which we managed to do!

We decided to kick off our visit by not arriving by the well travelled path and instead taking the Forgotten World Highway and stopping for a beer at the Republic of Whangamomona.

Forgotten World Highway

Next stop was Dawson Falls, nestled at the foot of Egmont National Park. 

Kayleigh told us she’d done it in Ugg boots so we were expecting an easy walk but it’s slightly steeper than we expected but oh so worth it, if for nothing else than this spectacular glade that you drive through on the way to the falls.  More about our trip to the falls over here.    

Dawson Falls

On the way back keep your eye on Mount Taranaki.  It’s often shrouded in clouds but they move fast so if you keep a watchful eye you may be able to grab that exact moment the clouds leave the top of Mt Taranaki and take that picture.

Mt Egmont

Next stop was Hollard Gardens.  I fell in love with these gardens that were created by Rose and Bernie Hollard and gifted to the people of NZ. 

I was talking to someone in New Plymouth the next day and she told me fairies live there and you know what, I think she’s probably right.  It’s an utterly magical spot and you can find out more about our visit there over here

Hollard Gardens

Where to shop

Lastly, explore the unique shops that New Plymouth has to offer (and if one of their pop ups are open when you are down there make sure you check out The Collaboration).  

While I was working in The Collaboration I had a 7 year old come in and recommend the most amazing Macaroon shop just up the road on Devon Street so that’s well worth checking out if you like a sweet treat.  The salted butter ones are so yum!

I was talking to some one said who said New Plymouth was a bit like Wellington but as much as I love Wellington I disagree.  New Plymouth has a style all to its own.  

I was lucky enough to not only to visit but to spend a day working in New Plymouth too and meet so many of you who came in to say hi at The Collaboration.  I also got to meet so many amazing artists working at The Collaboration and each and every one of you embodied the same New Plymouth vibe – free, wild, adventurous, open and welcoming. 

Where to stop on the way back home

Last stop as we headed back up the coast was for whitebait fritters at the Whitebait Inn at Mokau. 

Our tip – sit over the other side of the road so you can check out this sensational view.

New Plymouth – you were sensational and there’s still so much I want to see next time I visit!

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