Phillip Capper on Wikipedia© Phillip Capper on Wikipedia
Phillip Capper on Wikipedia

8 Best Things to Do in Eltham

© Phillip Capper on Wikipedia

What to Do in Eltham, Taranaki

Eltham might not be on the itinerary of most people travelling around Taranaki, but the intrigue of the characterful pioneer buildings and the vibrant murals are sure to make you stop in your tracks. The town has a fascinating history of being where the New Zealand dairy industry first went global. You can read all about it on the interpretation panels scattered along the town’s heritage buildings, parks and walkways. It’s like walking around an open-air museum! The town can offer some nature experiences too, with the nearby Lake Rotorangi and Rotokare. Find out about these attractions and more in this list of things to do in Eltham!

While you’re here, you might also be interested in 6 Towns You Can’t Miss in South Taranaki, as well as 10 Taranaki Must-Dos.

1. Check Out the Town’s Murals

It’s fair to say that Eltham is one of the most colourful towns in New Zealand with many of the buildings’ walls awash with popping murals. Check out works like the Heritage Mural on King Edward Street, the Rotokarea Reserve mural on The Village Gallery wall, the Police Station mural spray-painted by the children of Eltham, and much more! New murals are popping up all the time, so you might be lucky enough to see some work in action.

Location: Eltham town centre©

2. Walk and Birdwatch in the Rotokare Scenic Reserve

Escape to nature at the wonderful Rotokare Scenic Reserve, just a short drive from Eltham. Surrounding Lake Rotokarea, the forest and wetland environment is an important habitat for native birds, whitebait and eel, some of which can be seen while walking the 1-2-hour Rotorkare Walk.

Location: Sangster Road, 12km (7.5 miles) east of Eltham

Pakaraki on Wikipedia© Pakaraki on Wikipedia

3. Have a Picnic by Lake Rotorangi

More outdoor fun can be found at the nearby Lake Rotorangi. This lake is the longest manmade lake in New Zealand formed by the damming of the Patea River. Fed by natural springs and surrounded by native bush, Lake Rotorangi has a natural quality about it, enjoyed through the 40-minute Rotorangi Hydro Walk, by having a lake picnic, boating, camping at the Ball Road Camping Ground and more. Learn more about camping in this area in our Where to Camp in South Taranaki.

Location: Glen Nui Road, 24km (15 miles) east of Eltham

Phillip Capper on Wikipedia© Phillip Capper on Wikipedia

4. Do Cheese Tastings at the Cheese Bar

In the town where the New Zealand dairy industry went global, it’s no surprise that Eltham has its very own cheese shop. Pop in the Fonterra Eltham Cheese Bar to sample cheese, speciality cheese and other products. Admittedly, most of the cheese is what you will find in the supermarket, but still, it’s cheese. The bar is open Monday to Friday.

Location: Bridge Street©

5. Visit The Village Gallery

See the latest exhibition at this community art gallery showcasing work from Taranaki artists. The Village Gallery displays paintings, pottery, fibre art and more. The gallery is open from Monday to Saturday.

Location: 166 High Street©

6. Check Out the Eltham Toy Wall

A quirky photo opportunity worth checking out in the Eltham Toy Wall. What started as a goodwill act of a local lady putting lost toys on a wall for children to find grew with more and more toys added to the wall. The toys were eventually cemented to the wall to create the Eltham Toy Wall!

Location: Bridger Park

Pseudopanax-at-en.wikipedia© Pseudopanax-at-en.wikipedia

7. Take the Soldier’s Park Walkway

Discover the historic sites of Eltham and into some lovely country landscapes on the Soldier’s Park Walkway. The walkway features a small waterfall and the longest walk is approximately 1.3km (0.8 miles) long. Check out more walks in the nearby town Stratford here.

Location: Conway Road©

8. Catch the Eltham Friday Market

Buy local produce, arts and crafts at this small market held every Friday from 9am to 1pm – only if it’s not raining!

Location: Tavern Carpark, High Street©

More Things to Do Near Eltham

That’s it for the best things to do in Eltham. Find more activities for your travels in the 51 Best Things to Do on the North Island.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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