Taranaki Travel Guide
A region named after its dormant yet imposing, incredibly-symmetrical, 2500-metre tall volcano, Taranaki has snow and surf remarkably close to each other, a staggering selection of walking tracks in Egmont National Park, as well as incredibly fertile green lowlands.
Mount Taranaki (also known as Mount Egmont) last erupted in 1775, and is climbable within a day for a fit person. There is an extensive walking track circuit within the National Park, with over 300 kilometres’ worth of walking trails of varying lengths, as well as 13 entry points. Walks include the popular two-day Pouakai Circuit. Taranaki was where the Tom Cruise movie The Last Samurai was filmed.
The population hub of the region is New Plymouth, with nearly half of Taranaki’s residents choosing to live there. The city has a number of beautiful gardens, including Holland and Pukeiti gardens. Pukeiti Rhododendron Trust rainforest garden was established in 1951, and its plantings are engineered to make visiting each season a unique experience. It is open every day.
New Plymouth’s cultural centre is the innovative Puke Ariki complex, encompassing a museum, library and information centre at the one site. There are five gallery areas to it, all celebrating Taranaki’s 30 million-year history. Admission is free.
The New Plymouth Coastal Walkway passes Puke Ariki on its 10 kilometres route, also taking in nearly the entire length of the city. It begins in Hickford Park and passes sights including Waipu Lagoon, the local golf course, Te Rewa Rewa Reserve and finishes at Ngamotu Beach.
For those visiting the region to enjoy its surf beaches, they will find some of the country’s best surfing spots along Surf Highway 45, including Graveyard, Back Beach and Komene Beach.
New Plymouth’s climate is temperate, with average maximum and minimum temperatures of 21.8 and 13.6 degrees Celsius in January, and 13.3 and 5.6 in July.
Taranaki has a domestic airport at New Plymouth, served by Air New Zealand and Air Nelson, both flying to and from Auckland and Wellington.