All-Weather and Indoor Activities in New Plymouth – Perfect for a Rainy Day!
When the skies turn grey and you can no longer see the volcanic peak of Mt Taranaki, it’s time to duck for cover with one of the all-weather and indoor activities listed in this guide to the things to do in New Plymouth on a rainy day!
Sure, this is New Plymouth in New Zealand, so the city does get its fair share of rainy days. But never fear, with indoor activities like a museum, an award-winning art gallery, a bowling alley and glowing mini golf, an escape room, indoor hot pools and more, you’re still going to have a blast in New Plymouth even if it’s raining.
So plan a rainy day you’ll never forget with this list of the best things to do in New Plymouth on a rainy day. When the weather clears up, however, be sure to have our lists of 14 Best Things to Do in New Plymouth and 17 Best Things to Do in Taranaki at the ready!
1. Check Out the Puke Ariki Museum
Although it’s the most cliché thing to do on a rainy day, it’s still definitely worth checking out Taranaki’s regional museum, Puke Ariki. Located in the heart of New Plymouth, Puke Ariki is a fun free museum with a selection of ongoing and temporary exhibitions. Crawl through the lava tunnels of Mt Taranaki, be mesmerised by the carvings and taonga (treasure) in the Maori exhibition, see a skeleton of the now-extinct giant moa and interesting relics from the early European settlers. Check out more experiences like this in the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in New Plymouth.
Location: 65 St Aubyn Street, New Plymouth city centre.
2. See the Latest Exhibitions at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery / Len Lye Centre
Although there are many amazing art galleries that we could include on this list of things to do in New Plymouth on a rainy day, one of the highlights is the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery / Len Lye Centre. After quickly admiring the raindrops running down its impressive stainless steel facade, browse the labyrinth of artwork and kinetic sculptures across the gallery whose displays change four times a year. Note that there is a small admission fee for this art gallery. See more galleries to visit (and that will keep you dry) in the 10 Best Galleries & Museums in New Plymouth and 10 Best Galleries & Museums in Taranaki.
Location: 42 Queen Street, New Plymouth city centre.
3. Do Some Surfing
As long as the sea conditions are safe, who cares if it’s raining while you’re surfing? With New Plymouth being the hidden gem of surfing in New Zealand, it would almost be a crime to not grab a surfboard and hit the waves of Fitzroy Beach or Back Beach. Beach Street Surf Shop (39 Beach Street) offers gear rental and surf lessons at Fitzroy Beach. Otherwise, some of the hostels in New Plymouth offer complimentary surfboard hire for guests. If you’re an avid wave-rider, don’t miss a road trip down Surf Highway 45.
Location: Fitzroy Beach – Beach Street. Back Beach – Centennial Drive, New Plymouth city centre.
4. Soak in a Mineral Hot Pool at the Taranaki Thermal Spa
A good thing to do after the aches form from long drive to this off-the-beaten-track destination, the Taranaki Thermal Spa offers private indoor hot pools. Soak in thermal mineral waters that were first discovered in the early part of the 20th Century and are still used to soothe and relax to this day. The spa also has a sauna and massage treatments on offer. See more activities like this in the 10 Romantic Activities in New Plymouth for Couples.
Location: 8 Bonithon Avenue, New Plymouth city centre.
5. Do Tenpin Bowling and Play Glowing Mini Golf at Bowlarama
Travelling as a group, couple or family? Get competitive at New Plymouth’s indoor entertainment facility, Bowlarama. Not only does the indoor activity centre have 16 tenpin bowling lanes, but it also has an 18-hole black-light mini golf course. If that wasn’t enough, there are arcade games, pool tables, laser tag and more.
Location: 188 Devon Street West, New Plymouth city centre.
6. Tackle the Challenges of Escape Masters
More social indoor activities in New Plymouth to enjoy include the local escape rooms venue. Escape Masters offers creatively themed rooms full of puzzles, hidden codes and tricks to escape the room before the time runs out. It will challenge your reasoning and problem-solving skills so your group will be ready to face anything together!
Location: 44 Currie Street, New Plymouth city centre.
7. Check Out the Classic Toys at the Fun Ho! Toy Museum
A great option for families or those who appreciate the art of toy-making, Fun Ho! Toy Museum is an indoor attraction just outside of New Plymouth. Located in Inglewood, this unique museum displays a wealth of classic toys that have been made on-site between 1935 and 1982. Interactive displays include a slot car track, sandpit, theatrette, machinery and much more. What’s more, the museum is extremely affordable. See more activities like this in the 10 Things to Do in New Plymouth with Kids.
Location: 25 Rata Street, Inglewood, approximately 19km (12 miles) from New Plymouth city centre.
8. Do a Brewery Tour
New Plymouth is home to a couple of craft breweries, Mike’s Brewery & Bistro and the Shining Peak Brewery. The team at Shining Peak Brewery will take you behind the scenes of their state-of-the-art brewing facility to learn about the brewing process. The tour also includes a pint of beer on arrival, a tasting paddle, a can of beer to take home and a souvenir hat!
Alternatively, Mike’s Brewery offers casual brewery tours if you show interest. Otherwise, it’s a great place for a bite to eat and taste craft beers from one New Zealand’s original craft breweries. Check out more like this in the 7 Things to Do in New Plymouth for Foodies.
Location: Shining Peak Brewery – 59 Gill Street, New Plymouth city centre. Mike’s Brewery & Bistro – 186 Devon Street East, New Plymouth city centre.
9. Take a Tour of Tupare’s Historic Homestead
New Plymouth is renowned for its public gardens, but a rainy day isn’t exactly the best time to see them. Not all hope is lost, however, as the Tupare gardens have an indoor attraction that makes these gardens worth the trip when the weather isn’t playing ball. Relive the splendour of Tupare’s historic homestead, designed by James Chapman-Taylor and built in the 1930s, with a guided tour. Free public tours of the house take place at 11am on Fridays to Mondays from October to March.
Location: 487 Mangorei Road, approximately 12km (7 miles) from New Plymouth city centre.
10. Grab a Bite to Eat at New Plymouth’s Restaurants
When all hope is lost, you can always rely on New Plymouth’s cafes, diners, bars, breweries, winery and restaurants to keep dry on a rainy day. You could go all out and treat yourself to fine dining at establishments like Table and Salt Restaurant, which we list in The Luxury Guide to New Plymouth.
Otherwise, some other noteworthy eateries include the contemporary vibe and Indian-Malaysian cuisine of Koi Lounge. For a night out with friends, head to Social Kitchen which uses a Mibrasa charcoal oven to create irresistible smokey meat dishes. For something just plain fun, check out the American-style Deluxe Diner. Finally, get stuck into the cafe culture of New Plymouth at cosy cafes like the quirky Elixir Cafe and Little Fed.
Location: Koi Lounge – 85 Devon St West Central. Social Kitchen – 40 Powderham Street. Deluxe Diner – 36 Leach Street. Elixir Cafe – 117 Devon Street East. Little Fed – 53 Tukapa Street.
11. Binge-Watch 365 Days, 365 Activities in New Zealand
If all else fails, you can always get some inspiration for your next epic New Zealand activity by watching New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year on YouTube. Watch as the team behind NZ Pocket Guide take on 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand! Make sure to subscribe.