Located on the west coast of the North Island halfway between Auckland and Wellington, the city of New Plymouth, and the wider Taranaki region, is a hub for a diverse range of cultural experiences. There’s the music, arts and dance festival Womad, as well as the boundary-pushing exhibitions of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Len Lye Centre.

Besides the artistic explosion, though, Taranaki is a centre for dairy production, and the industry’s long-term success has helped further propel a thriving food and drink culture. Planning a visit? Here are five spots to include on your itinerary for the best the region has to offer.

Knead Artisan Donuts
This shop has amassed a cult following for its artisanal doughnuts, and for good reason too. Knead serves up fortnightly rotating creations such as caramilk mousse, banoffee, pink gin, and caramelised white chocolate cheesecake. Pop into the striking white-tiled New Plymouth store for mixed six- and 12-packs, and a coffee from local roastery Proof & Stock.

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Black Sand Pizzeria
A short drive down the coast from New Plymouth is the beachside town of Oakura. It’s worth a visit for the gorgeous ocean views alone, but Black Sand’s simple, Neapolitan-style pizza is also a major draw. Owners Matt and Shelly Brock blast each pizza in a woodfired oven at 400 degrees for no more than 90 seconds, resulting in a thin, blistered crust just like they make in Napoli. There are bianca- and rosso-style bases covering classics such as margherita, puttanesca and sopressa, but also singular variations like a chorizo, ‘nduja and burnt honey pizza that’s become a local favourite. For drinks, there’s a selection of well-matched local wine and beer.

Bleached Coffee & Company
When you arrive at Bleached Coffee, you’ll find yourself in a shared industrial space with more than you probably expected. Owners Benny Connolly and Lucy Houghton opened the space to showcase surf fashion and lifestyle products under the Crystal Cylinder brand. The other half of the premises, though, is dedicated to Bleached Coffee & Company, a low-key spot serving up Allpress espresso and bagels stacked with toppings such as salmon and capers, and tomato and cream cheese – the perfect fuel, whether you’re surfing or shopping.

Shining Peak Brewing
The name Taranaki combines two te reo Māori words that give this New Plymouth brewery its name: “tara”, meaning peak, and “naki”, which relates to the shine of fresh snow. Here you’ll find some international award-winning beer brewed by Jesse Sigurdsson, who flits between traditional lagers and amber ales, as well as modern hazy IPAs, funky saisons and yearly vintage stouts. Chef Freddie Ponder weaves influences from his fine-dining background into a classy menu that features tacos with chilli-marinated lamb, duck pate with pickled onion, and a flat iron steak served with chimichurri, roasted onions and chunky fries, meaning you’ll be well-fed as you work through a few tastings.

Known Unknown Wine
Winemaker Jules van Costello is on a mission to remove the stuffiness from wine, so at this New Plymouth urban winery the style is vibrant, lo-fi and focused on fun. Known Unknown is a working winery, making it the ideal environment to taste through a range of fruit-forward, minimal-intervention drops like aromatic syrahs, pét-nats and funky white blends, along with a few rustic ciders. The food menu features classic wine-friendly cellar door snacks such as anchovy and ricotta toast, and baked brie with truffle honey.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with 100% Pure New Zealand. To experience everything New Zealand has to offer, join the 100% Pure New Zealand mailing list to discover the country’s best hidden gems, unique experiences and epic deals.

This article was published on March 29, 2023. Some menu items may have changed since publication.