Welcome to the region like no other. It’s unique, it’s legendary and it’s impressive.
Standing tall and keeping a watchful eye is the picture-perfect Mount Taranaki. Maori legend has it that Mount Taranaki was initially located in the centre of the North Island, but lost a mighty battle with another mountain for the heart of pretty Mount Pihanga. Banished west to his current position, it is still said that when the 2518m peak is hidden by clouds, the Mountain is hiding the tears he sheds for lost love.
Mount Taranaki is an ever-present part of the landscape and home to more than 200km of walking and hiking trails, a ski field, cafes and accommodation. A visit to the mountain should be on everyone’s bucket list – to climb to the summit, traverse the Pouakai Crossing, make a snow man in winter, stroll through the Goblin Forest or to ride the natural waterslides at Wilkies Pools on a hot summers day.
Beneath the mountain there’s much more to discover. Taranaki is home to a flourishing arts scene with diverse and talented artisans and galleries who will challenge and inspire, provoke and move you. None more so than the pioneering artist Len Lye.
His works are housed at the new and dazzling Len Lye Centre, part of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, one of New Zealand’s leading contemporary art museums.
Lye’s kinetic 48metre high sculpture Wind Wand has pride of place on New Plymouth’s bustling, award-winning 13km Coastal Walkway, which weaves from port, to city, to parklands and crosses the architectural masterpiece that is the Te Rewa Rewa bridge.There are many more fantastic walks and hikes around the region that will suit all fitness and accessibility levels, from flat boardwalk strolls to bush walks teeming with bird life.
Taranaki has been known as the ‘Garden of New Zealand’ since the first European settlers and it’s easy to see why. Thanks to our rich volcanic soil, our gardens are so spectacular they have their own festivals. Speaking of festivals, we do them well in Taranaki. Year round there’s always something to fill the calendar – everything from the global musical festival WOMAD to the ASP World Women’s Surf festival, international rugby and football matches, AmeriCarna, the International Arts Festival, TropFest Film Festival, Kinetika, and so much more. Whatever adventures or festival experiences you choose you’ll also discover cool cafes and restaurants, diverse accommodation options, friendly locals and spectacular scenery.
Taranaki boasts an amazing collection of museums, like New Plymouth’s Puke Ariki and Hawera’s Tawhiti Museum – widely regarded as the best private museum in New Zealand or Patea’s stunning Aotea Utanganui. The region also offers a number of more eclectic private museums worth visiting.
You can also head off the beaten track and seek adventure around Surf Highway 45 – a 105km route that traces the coast between New Plymouth and Hawera. Almost every road that heads towards the coast will take you to an uncrowded, legendary surf break.
Or really get away from it all along the Forgotten World Highway – New Zealand’s oldest touring route between Stratford and the mountainous centre of the North Island.
Complete with a hand carved tunnel, a lush green gorge and the iconic ‘Republic of Whangamomona’.
Whatever your reasons for visiting, Taranaki will change your perceptions, impress you, inspire you and who knows, you may end up loving it so much you won’t want to leave!
Taranaki will win your heart, offering you an experience that is truly ‘like no other’.