The Top Places to Visit Near New Plymouth
Flung into a western corner of the North Island, New Plymouth is quite the journey to get to. Make the most of it by exploring the surrounding Taranaki region using our curated day trips from New Plymouth. Visit quirky towns, venture down the surf highway, explore the fairytale-like forests of the Egmont National Park, and much more! Check out our top Taranaki day trips with this guide to self-drive day trips from New Plymouth.
For more trip-planning wisdom, head over to The Complete Guide to New Plymouth.
5 Best Day Tours from New Plymouth
Before we dive into the self-drive day trips from New Plymouth, here are some alternative options for those without a vehicle or who would just prefer less hassle. Check out these day tours from New Plymouth to explore Taranaki.
- Nature, culture and adventure tours with Nau Mai New Plymouth Tours
- Guided hikes in the Egmont National Park with Top Guides Taranaki
- Fishing excursions with Chaddy’s Charters
- Farming tours with the Egmont Travel Group
- Taranaki helicopter tours with Precision Helicopters.
North Egmont National Park
The Best Day Trip from New Plymouth for Budget Travellers and Families
Travel time by car: 30 minutes one-way
Head to the slopes of the iconic Mt Taranaki volcano on an Egmont National Park day trip. The closest access to the national park from New Plymouth is at the North Egmont Visitor Centre where you’ll find a wealth of walking trails. Venture through the alpine forest on the Veronica Loop Track, do the full-day volcanic adventure on the Pouakai Crossing, or climb to the summit of Mt Taranaki.
Check out more of the hiking trails in the 6 Hikes You Have to Do in Egmont National Park.
Surf Highway 45
The Best Day Trip from New Plymouth for Budget Travellers and Foodies
Travel time by car: 40 minutes to 1h30mins one-way
Explore Surf Highway 45, whether it’s to hit the surf beaches or to check out the sights along the way. See a shipwreck at Oakura and take a snap of the Cape Egmont Lighthouse, which is a good place to return back to New Plymouth to keep it a shorter trip. Alternatively, continue on to Opunake for the Opunake Walkway, then Manaia which is the “Bread Capital of New Zealand”. The highway finishes in Hawera where you can climb up the Hawera Water Tower for awesome views of Mt Taranaki and the coast.
Check out more stops on this day trip from New Plymouth on the 18 Places to Stop at on Taranaki’s Surf Highway 45.
The Best Day Trip from New Plymouth for Foodies and Luxury Travellers
Travel time by car: 30 minutes one-way
This quirky town is well worth a look, as it’s the self-proclaimed “Shakespeare Capital of New Zealand”. Watch the giant glockenspiel perform Romeo & Juliet in the town centre and roam its streets searching for Shakespeare’s characters in the street names. For literary non-enthusiasts, King Edward Park is a pleasant place for a bushwalk, while the cafes and art galleries are worth a look around.
Find more activities in the 10 Things to Do in Stratford.
The Best Day Trip from New Plymouth for Couples and Budget Travellers
Travel time by car: 40 minutes to 1 hour one-way
After travelling through the peaceful countryside of the Taranaki region, you’ll come across a stretch of dramatic coastline called the White Cliffs. There are two ways to experience this landscape, either along the Whitecliffs Walkway from Pukearuhe or along the beaches at low tide to see the Three Sisters formations from Tongaporutu.
Find out more about hiking in the White Cliffs and Mt Messenger area on the Department of Conservation website.
Dawson Falls Area
The Best Day Trip from New Plymouth for Families
Travel time by car: 1 hour one-way
Let’s end this guide of day trips from New Plymouth where we began, the Egmont National Park. More areas of the national park to discover includes, but is certainly not limited to, the Dawson Falls Area. Hike through the gangling span of mossy trees to the lava-formed Wilkies Pools and see the icon of the area, Dawson Falls, on one of the many short hiking trails from the Dawson Falls Visitor Centre.
Learn more about the Dawson Falls area walks on the Department of Conservation website.