31 best things to do in the central North Island
Dominated by the enormous Lake Taupō and a trio of volcanoes including Mount Ruapehu, the Central Plateau is sporting a plethora of natural ...
Go west to Taranaki and explore a special corner of New Zealand where the down-to-earth rhythms of rural life take place in a landscape that’s out of this world. The main centre, New Plymouth, is a cultured – and very appealing – place where you’ll find surprisingly sophisticated eateries and boutiques.
Spectacularly beautiful, Taranaki is a region of rural landscapes, amazing surf beaches and a perfect cone-shaped mountain – Mount Taranaki – and it’s the perfect place for an inspiring road trip. The region’s main centre, New Plymouth, is a cosmopolitan town with great restaurants, galleries and boutiques.
New Plymouth Enjoying a beautiful coastal setting, with views to Mount Taranaki, and brimming with great eateries, gardens, shops and cultural attractions, New Plymouth is a cosmopolitan small city. On the waterfront is the museum, Puke Ariki, and just around the corner is the acclaimed Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. The TSB Bowl of Brooklands hosts numerous high-profile performers from around the world in its outdoor amphitheatre.
Stratford The gateway to Mount Taranaki is also a monument to William Shakespeare, with a Glockenspiel clock from which Romeo and Juliet emerge several times daily. Take the turnoff to Dawson Falls at the foot of Mount Taranaki – departure point for walks.
Opunake The tiny town of Opunake on coastal Surf Highway 45 has excellent surf and safe swimming.
Hāwera The service town of Hāwera in South Taranaki is home to an excellent museum featuring life-size dioramas depicting local history.
Learn about local culture and heritage at the waterfront Puke Ariki centre. Watch Romeo and Juliet emerge from the Glockenspiel clock in Stratford. Wander (or cycle, or skate) along the New Plymouth Coastal Walkway. Hit the road and check out the beaches along Surf Highway 45. Hike under the watchful eye of Mount Taranaki in Egmont National Park.
Be sure to check the events calendar when you’re visiting Taranaki; despite its small size, New Plymouth regularly stages international concerts and great festivals.