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Home » Blog » A Nod to the More Cultural Travellers

A Nod to the More Cultural Travellers

Taranaki, with its stunning landscapes and vibrant cultural scene, is a hidden gem for discerning travellers. The region offers a rich tapestry of cultural events, art festivals, and culinary delights that cater to those with a taste for the finer things in life. Here's a guide to a typical seasonal event and festival calendar in Taranaki that’s perfect for the more seasoned explorer.

New Plymouth Festival of Lights (December-January)

  • What to Expect: The Festival of Lights is a magical event that transforms Pukekura Park into an illuminated wonderland. The festival includes light installations, live music, and family-friendly activities.
  • Why Attend: The stunning light displays and enchanting atmosphere make this festival a must-see. The high quality of the installations and the picturesque setting ensure a memorable evening for all visitors.

Te Kupenga Stone Sculpture Society (January – Bi-annual)

  • What to Expect: The Te Kupenga Biennial International Stone Sculpture Symposium is a bi-annual event run on the New Plymouth foreshore. The event brings together international, national and local sculptors to create with the local Andesite boulders as their medium. 
  • Why Attend: Three weeks of sculpting are followed by a one-week exhibition, concluding with a public auction. The sculpture symposia can be viewed in person and up close throughout the month, along New Plymouth's coastal walkway.

Americarna (February)

  • What to Expect: Americarna is a unique festival that celebrates American classic cars. Held in Taranaki's picturesque coastal towns, in 2007, Americarna burst onto the highways of Taranaki. This annual event unites an impressive array of American-themed cars, trucks, motorcycles, hot rods, rat rods and everything in between.
  • Why Attend: The Taranaki community wholeheartedly embraces the event, drawing in massive crowds throughout the entire province and thousands of enthusiastic spectators throughout the week.

WOMAD (March)

  • What to Expect: WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) is an internationally renowned festival held in New Plymouth's Brooklands Park. The event features an eclectic line-up of musicians, artists, and performers from around the globe.
  • Why Attend: WOMAD's reputation for high-quality performances and diverse cultural offerings makes it a standout event. The festival's beautiful setting and vibrant atmosphere provide an unforgettable experience for music and art lovers.

Taranaki International Arts Festival (March-April)

  • What to Expect: The Taranaki International Arts Festival is a biennial event that brings world-class performances to New Plymouth. The festival includes theatre, dance, music, and visual arts, featuring both local and international artists.
  • Why Attend: The festival's commitment to high-quality, innovative performances makes it a highlight of Taranaki's cultural calendar. The diverse line-up ensures there's something for everyone, from contemporary dance to classical music.

“Feastival” Taranaki (April)

  • What to Expect: Feastival Taranaki is a food festival that showcases the region's best culinary offerings. The event features local producers, chefs, and artisans, providing a taste of Taranaki's rich food culture.
  • Why Attend: For discerning foodies, this feastival is a culinary delight. The emphasis on local, high-quality ingredients and innovative dishes ensures a gourmet experience. Visitors can enjoy cooking demonstrations, classes, tastings, and food stalls offering a wide range of delicacies.

Winter Wonderfest (July)

  • What to Expect: Winter Wonderfest is a celebration of winter with a focus on community and creativity. The festival includes a variety of workshops, performances, and exhibitions that highlight local talent and craftsmanship.
  • Why Attend: This festival offers a cosy, intimate atmosphere, perfect for those looking to experience Taranaki's cultural scene in a more relaxed setting. The emphasis on local artists and artisans ensures a unique and authentic experience.

Taranaki Arts Festival (August)

  • What to Expect: [Yes, we’ve listed this twice!] The Taranaki Arts Festival biennial events calendar continues throughout the year, transforming New Plymouth into a hub of creativity. This festival attracts top talent from New Zealand and around the world, across many and varied genres. Take a look at some typical events here. 
  • Why Attend: The festival's commitment to high-quality performances and innovative art forms makes it a must-attend for art enthusiasts. The unique blend of traditional and contemporary works ensures there's something to captivate every visitor.

Taranaki Garden Festival (October-November)

  • What to Expect: The Taranaki Garden Festival is a celebration of the region's stunning gardens and landscapes. The festival features tours of private and public gardens, workshops, and talks by gardening experts.
  • Why Attend: The festival's reputation for showcasing some of the most beautiful gardens in New Zealand makes it a must-visit for nature lovers and gardening enthusiasts. The opportunity to explore hidden gems and meet passionate gardeners adds a personal touch to the experience.

Taranaki Fringe Garden Festival (October-November)

  • What to Expect: Running concurrently with the Taranaki Garden Festival, the Fringe Garden Festival offers an alternative look at Taranaki's gardens. This event features more eclectic and unconventional gardens, highlighting creativity and innovation.
  • Why Attend: The Fringe Festival provides a different perspective on garden design and landscaping, making it ideal for those seeking inspiration and new ideas. The event's quirky and offbeat nature makes it a fun and engaging experience.


Taranaki is a treasure trove of cultural events, art festivals, and culinary delights that cater to all who are looking to immerse themselves in the local culture. The region offers a rich and diverse array of experiences that are sure to leave a lasting impression.

So plan your visit and discover the unique events that make this region a true traveller's delight. Book your stay with us and be at the centre of it all!

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