Taranaki, New Zealand
A place to find the soulful beauty of New Zealand's heartland. Come because you seek the time and space to discover new memories; on the mountain, in the water, or exploring lush, colourful gardens and invigorating art.
Taranaki, on the North Island's west coast, is on a peninsula that juts into the Tasman Sea and is half way between Auckland and Wellington.
As of June 2005, Taranaki's estimated population was 105,000.
The most striking natural feature of Taranaki is the near-perfect volcanic cone of Mt Taranaki that dominates the whole region. From mountain trails, you can see spectacular views of Egmont National Park spread out below and lush green dairy pastures that stretch as far as the eye can see.
The area around the sunny city of New Plymouth is well-known for its black sand surfing beaches and glorious parks and gardens, particularly the dazzling array of rhododendrons and azaleas on display in spring. Many of the area's magnificent private gardens are open for public viewing year round.
New Plymouth is the major city in the Taranaki region.
In contrast with its outdoorsy lifestyle, New Plymouth has an artsy side. It is home to the acclaimed Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand's only contemporary art museum with a permanent collection.
Main Attractions and Activities
The Egmont National Park encompasses the mountain and the land around it. Hiking is the thing to do here. Lush rainforest covers the foothills of the mountain, but the landscape changes the higher you go--from tall rimu and kamahi trees at lower altitudes through dense subalpine shrubs to an alpine herb field with some plants unique to the park.
The forest on Mount Taranaki's middle slopes is sometimes known as 'Goblin Forest' because of the gnarled shape of the trees and the thick swathes of trailing moss. In winter, Mount Taranaki becomes a place to ski.
There are 21 attractive golf courses in the city and region, many in park-like surroundings with ocean views.
The rugged backcountry makes for exciting canoeing, horseriding, four-wheel drive adventures and dam dropping.
There is a choice of walking tracks on Mt Taranaki. The three-to-five day Round-the-Mountain track is recommended. Hut and motel accommodation are available.
- Egmont National Park
- Taranaki's gardens
- Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth
- St Mary's pro-Cathedral, New Zealand's oldest stone church
- Lake Mangamahoe, New Plymouth
- Dam Dropping, Hawera
- Surf, Highway 45
- New Plymouth - the main regional centre
- Hawera - a good base to explore South Taranaki
- Stratford - an excellent spot to stay for those wanting to explore the mountain