Plan a Family Trip to New Plymouth
Take your family somewhere different, somewhere off the beaten track where most of the child-friendly activities are free, the landscapes are diverse, and the accommodations range from the fun and affordable to the lavish and desirable. One moment you could be lapping up the beach views on the New Plymouth Coastal Walkway and just 30 minutes later you could be on the lush forested slopes of Mt Taranaki. On top of all that, your trip can be an educational one thanks to the fantastic museums.
Find out how possible and plannable a family getaway to Taranaki is with this travel guide to New Plymouth for families.
Things to Do in New Plymouth with Kids
- Check out the exhibitions at the Puke Ariki museum
- Explore and play on the amazing playground at Pukekura Park
- Walk or cycle the New Plymouth Coastal Walkway
- Do the child-friendly walks of the Egmont National Park
- Go on a kayaking trip on the Waitara River
- Build sandcastles at Fitzroy or Back Beach
- Check out the classic toys at the Fun Ho! Toy Museum
- Feed the animals at Stoney Oaks Wildlife Park
- Bond as a family at Bowlarama and Mini Golf
- Discover the parks of Pukeiti and Tupare.
For more information on each experience, check out the 10 Things to Do in New Plymouth with Kids.
Family Adventure Activities
For families who love to experience the great outdoors with down-to-earth experiences, New Plymouth is a good go-to. While there are many free and exciting walks in New Plymouth and the Egmont National Park, which we’ll get to at the bottom of this guide, some of the alternative adventure activities include kayaking and visiting the local farm animals.
Starting with the kayaking, Canoe & Kayak Taranaki offer two exciting kayaking tours. The best option for kids is the Waitara River Kayak Tour, which is a scenic paddle over the gentle grade two rapids on the lower Waitara River. The 3h30mins experience is suitable for ages six years and above if accompanied by an adult or 10 years in their own kayak. Alternatively, they also offer a sea kayaking tour to the offshore Sugar Loaf Islands, which is more suitable for ages 11 and above and is dependent on the sea conditions.
Something for the younger kids and animal-lovers of all ages, Stoney Oaks Wildlife Park is located just outside of Inglewood, making a good stop in or out of New Plymouth. The affordable farm park allows the little ones to meet an interesting range of farm animals, from miniature horses to rabbits. Bottles can be bought to feed the animals, while playing in the playground and treehouse is another thing for the kids to do. Note that the park has limited opening hours, typically Sundays only or daily in school holidays.
For more adventure activity ideas, check out the 10 Things to Do in New Plymouth with Kids.
All-weather Family Activities
Whatever the weather is doing, don’t let your family getaway come to a halt. Head to these indoor attractions in New Plymouth!
A good go-to in the city centre, Puke Ariki is the regional museum for Taranaki and always has something going on for the kids. Crawl through the lava tunnels of Mt Taranaki, be mesmerised by the carvings and taonga (treasure) in the Maori exhibition and see interesting relics from the early European settlers in the “Taranaki Life” exhibition. Temporary exhibitions come and go too, often being something child-friendly, so why not check it out? What’s more, the museum is free.
Get the little ones a special souvenir from Taranaki to remember their trip at the Fun Ho! Toy Museum. Located in Inglewood, this unique museum displays a wealth of classic toys that have been made at the on-site toy factory. Interactive displays include a slot car track, sandpit, theatrette, machinery and more. While most of the toys in the museum were made between 1935-1982, newer products can also be purchased in their shop.
For more ideas, check out the 10 Things to Do in Gisborne on a Rainy Day.
Free Family Activities
Luckily for families, most of the child-friendly activities in and around New Plymouth are free to enjoy. With an array of gardens, parks, beaches and walks, New Plymouth will not make you stuck for things to do.
A must is the New Plymouth Coastal Walkway! This sealed 12.7km (8-mile) walkway is stroller-friendly and has multiple entry points to make the walk as long or as short as you wish. Highlights to hit include the playground near Kawaroa Park, the Wind Wand just off St Aubyn Street, and Te Rewa Rewa Bridge near Fitzroy Beach.
Another free highlight in the city is Pukekura Park. Aside from meandering the gardens with water features and duck lakes, there’s one of the most interesting playgrounds in New Zealand! With creative play equipment, a waterwheel and channel feature and much more, your kids will be here for hours. Take a picnic or enjoy meals at the cafe found at the northern end of the lake.
Finally, explore the icon of the region, Mt Taranaki and the Egmont National Park, with one of the child-friendly walks in the area. One of the easiest to access from New Plymouth is the Ngatoro Loop Track, a 45-minute to an hour loop walk descending into what is known as the “goblin forest” with gangling moss-covered trees that are sure to get the imaginations of the little ones running. Find this walk and other short walks at the North Egmont Visitor Centre.
For more free activities, check out the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in New Plymouth.
More About New Plymouth
- 10 Best Galleries & Museums in New Plymouth
- 10 New Plymouth Must-Dos
- 10 Best Motels in New Plymouth
- The Complete Travel Guide to New Plymouth
That’s it from the travel guide to New Plymouth for families. Discover even more family trip tips in The Travel Guide to New Zealand for Families.