What can you do in this small little city? The mountainous landscape that rises above the swelling sea offers you a view to what you can enjoy.
Known as the events centre; major festivals, sports events and concerts are regularly performed to entertain those away from Mount Taranaki.
With its rich volcanic soil, the number of sculpted botanic gardens are a calling point for this small city. Even New Zealand-born citizens don’t always appreciate what New Plymouth has to offer.
Fifty-two hectares of diverse plant collections, exotic specimen trees, formal gardens, lakes and walking trails through native bush fills this park.
Strolling through the gardens, you may happen upon the small Brookland’s Zoo. Not quite the zoo that big cities are known for, instead this free family-focused zoo is home to farmyard animals, oriental small-clawed otters, meerkats and cotton-top tamarind monkeys.
Meander through the walk-through free-flight aviary, opening a large gate, leading into a bird-occupied haven. The splash of colour that zooms by will keep the children fascinated.
Wander through the two-wing complex, a major city landmark that gives New Plymouth the name – knowledge city. A library, museum and visitor info centre offers a unique insight to Taranaki.
Like other national museums, Puke Ariki takes you back to the history of Taranaki, the Maori that first occupied it, war-time romances, or become enthralled amongst the wildlife species that have called Taranaki their home.
Explore the collections of Maori artefacts, whale and moa skeletons.
One may wonder what is so special about a walk-way. But the award-winning ten kilometre pathway is no ordinary path to tread.
Designed as an expansive sea-edge promenade, the sea-wall arises high above the sea depths to provide protection against the waves crashing against the concrete. Risk a few daring steps to one of the finger piers jutting out of the wall’s surfaces, peering down to the crashing waves below.
The coastal walkway spirals along to Hickford Park, meandering through green farmland, before reaching Te Rewa Rewa Reserve. The variety of pathways extending from this walkway will sure to give your legs a work out.
As you explore the many tracks that weave their way through Taranaki, craftspeople and artists provide a range of galleries and studios to explore, offering a unique artistic view to the life of locals.
But let’s not beat-around-the-bush, no one can bypass New Plymouth without experiencing what New Plymouth is really known for – Mount Taranaki.
The majestic snow-capped peak jutting into the heavens, surrounded by a waft of white marshmallow cloud, amidst green pastures. The source of fifty streams and rivers flows through the sub-tropical semi-coastal forests.
Not only offering excellent snow conditions, but in warmer weather the 2,518 metre mountain can be climbed in one day. Back drop to the movie the Last Samurai; it’s certainly another selling point.
Diving and Exploring
New Plymouth offers extremes of snow and surf, ideal for adventure seekers, known for its big wave territory.
Diving at Sugar Loaf Island Marine Park submerges you into another world still being discovered. A refuge for New Zealand seals and marine life, some parts still remaining untouched.
Take charters out to the Island; watch seals sunbathing on the rocks, dolphins and whales surfing the waters. Plunge into the rippling waters with a guided diver to explore the cliffs, canyons, boulder reefs and sand expanses hidden under the watery depths. Eroded remnants of early volcanic sentiments create layers of texture at the bottom of the marine haven.
Voted the no.1 must-do in Taranaki, their flights can take you over breath-taking landscapes, to secluded locations, unusual sights, or get dropped off for a bite to eat at hard-to-get-to places.
Explore Mount Taranaki, with seemingly unfathomable symmetrical design.
Soar over Egmont National Park; scattered with rimu and rata trees, ascending to kamahi, totara and kalkawaka trees.
Plunge into the ‘Goblin Forest’, trailing moss-covered rocks slithering up gnarled trees.
Glide the length of the Stony River, scoot across the coast watching the waves crash against the shore.
Fly over the Forgotten World Highway, the road that provided travellers to learn about the bush clad hills separating the towns of Stratford and Taumarunui.
Stop in the little town of Stratford and travel back to the Shakespearean time, or visit the village built back in the pioneer times.
Explore the stunning, almost ‘Lord of the Rings’ like forest bordering the highway, extending out to native bush. Cautiously disappear into an oval tunnel shaded by moss ivory.
Meander along the walkway; hear the gushing of the Mount Damper Falls, emerging into a clearing, the waterfall hidden amidst ferns shading the walkways, spilling out over a horse shoe-shaped papa bluff.
Hover over Whangamomona and stop in at the most remote hotel in New Zealand for a coffee.
Enjoy tastings at White Cliffs Organic Brewery and relax with a light lunch in their garden.
Tour around the Tawhiti Museum to see its life-sized exhibits and scale models.
Visit Okurukuru Café and Winery; look out to Oakura and Sugar Loaf Islands while indulging in delicious New Zealand food.
Mosey through the vineyard, feeling the waft of the ocean breeze drift throughout the surrounds. The westerly winds and high rainfall can make it next to impossible to grow such luscious grapes, but indeed they have prevailed, planting Pinotage, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, producing their first vintage of Taranaki Rosé in 2006.
Relax for a bite to eat, coffee and cake, or a glass of wine in the restaurant. Take a moment to stand back and savour the sight of the modern restaurant merging into the hillside, fashioning a crescent shape in the hills. The huge glass windows creating an all-round view of the Taranaki coast.
Or visit the Waiau Winery, tasting their sparkling ciders and fruit wines in a sheltered garden environment.
Stroll through native rainforest, pass by pools shaped from 20,000 year old lava. Water flowing down jagged rocks to a gentle rippling pool, resembling lava cascading down a mountain.
Paritutu Rock and Traverse Adventure
Hard walk and scramble to the top of the rock in fifteen minutes. Or be daring and take the traverse adventure; swing across chasms, rock climb, and scramble across vertical cliff. Heart pounding against your chest as you take in the view from the top.
New Plymouth Iona Dairy
Stop in at one of the best dairies in the country, where people travel from all over to indulge in the large scoops of ice cream and plenty of flavours to choose from.
Hand feed goats, llamas, cattle, sheep, kune kune pigs; see the birdlife of peacocks, ducks, pigeons, emus and ostriches.
Watch as the lions and tigers are fed, stroll through lifestock, peer closely at the reptile collection.
Taste of Taranaki
Relax and rejuvenate in the hot mineral pools, and enjoy a luxurious spa treatment.
Explore the landscape of North Taranaki on horseback.
Stop for a glass or two at Sentry Hill Winery; savour the wonderful fruity flavour of their sweet Green Ginger wine, perfect with rum or brandy. Sip a glass of boysenberry wine with a juicy steak, accompany your dessert with a tangy kiwifruit wine, or drizzle feijoa wine over ice cream.
Whether you are a thrill seeker or a care-free spirit, New Plymouth offers a mountainous landscape sure to impress.
Taranki, Accessed 16/08/11, www.taranaki.info.com
Flights, “Heliview Flights”, Accessed 16/08/11