Western North Island tourist information

  • Western North Island tourist information

Taranaki & New Plymouth visitor information

At the northern end of this region, the more adventurous travellers are well catered for. With two great rivers providing plenty of opportunity for rafting excursions and exploration, the Rangitikei and the Whanganui bring this part of the region to life and is an exciting addition to any travel itinerary.

The Whanganui River, starting high up in the volcanic plateau of the central North Island at Mt Tongariro, passes through the native tree and fern clad hills of the Wanganui National Park.

The Ruahine and Tararua Mountain Ranges are found in the central area of this region, with pristine rivers winding through the surrounding farmland making for a scenic and peaceful journey.

To the far west of the region facing the Tasman Sea is a magnificent volcano, Taranaki, which dominates the province that shares its name.

This is a region with a blend of natural beauty, attractions and activities.

Western North Island - the 'real New Zealand'.

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As you travel around the Western North Island region, look for the sign you can trust. i-SITE is New Zealand's official network of visitor centres.

Taranaki i-SITE

 

  • QUICK FACTS - TARANAKI
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  • Population
  • Taranaki has a population of 104,000, with 70,000 residing in the region’s main centre of New Plymouth City.
  • Climate
  • Taranaki’s climate is very temperate in both temperature and weather. Temperatures range from an average high of 16 degrees Celsius in the winter, to the mid-20s or higher in the summer, with long balmy nights and crisp winter mornings.
  • Cultural mix
  • The region’s cultural mix is varied, given its migrant history over several hundred years. Cultures range from Maori, English, Polish, Swiss, Dutch, Chinese, Indian and New Zealand European.
  • Famous for
  • Taranaki is famous for 2518m Mt Taranaki, Egmont National Park, top New Zealand surf breaks, ten out of 31 New Zealand Gardens of National Significance, artists, heritage attractions (Puke Ariki, Tawhiti Museum), New Zealand’s first themed touring route of Forgotten World Highway 43, and Surf Highway 45
  • Transport
  • Taranaki is centred nearly bang on halfway between Auckland and Wellington on the North Island’s western seaboard.

    By car or motorhome:

    • SH3 from the north, via Te Kuiti
    • SH3 from the south, via Wanganui
    • Auckland to New Plymouth (spectacular route through Waitomo, Awakino Gorge and Mt Messenger) – five hours.
    • Wellington to New Plymouth (through lush South Taranaki countryside dotted with oilrigs and horse studs) – four-and-a-half hours.

    If you are travelling to Taranaki, the following are tips to enjoy your specific driving routes:

    Forgotten World Highway 43 from Stratford to Taumarunui – please note that there are no petrol stations along this highway, so you will have to refuel your motorhome in Stratford or Taumarunui. There are 12km of unsealed road on this route.

    Surf Highway 45 from New Plymouth to Hawera – please note that access to some of the surf beaches is over private land. Please ensure you lock your vehicle before heading to the beach, and take your rubbish home with you. Toilets are available at Fitzroy Beach, East End Beach, Oakura Beach, Weld Rd, Rocky Point (Rocky Rights and Rocky Lefts), Stent Rd, Opunake Beach and Ohawe. It is recommended that visitors unused to surfing should visit Oakura Beach, AhuAhu Rd, Weld Rd, Stent Rd and Opunake Beach.

  • The people
  • Musicians:

    • Dame Melvina Major (opera singer)
    • Dalvanius Prime (singer)
    • Midge Marsden (singer)
    • Victoria Girling-Butcher (singer)

    Actors:

    • Katie Wolfe (actor)
    • Melanie Lynskey (actor)
    • Ian Rey (actor)

    Artists:

    • Joyce Young (potter/artist)
    • Margaret Scott (painter)
    • Peter Lambert (painter)
    • Michael Smither (painter)
    • John McLean (painter)
    • Dale Copeland (artist)
    • Chris Fuller (surf artist)

    Writers:

    • Deryn Hinch (Australian broadcaster)
    • David Hill (children’s writer)

    Sports personalities:

    • Kieran Crowley (rugby)
    • David Loveridge (rugby)
    • Graham Mourie (rugby)
    • Grant Fox (rugby)
    • Michael Campbell (golf)
    • Grant Moorhead (golf)
    • Michael Walker (jockey)
    • Adine Harper (netball)

GoDo is an online booking service for activities. We work with hundreds of activity suppliers across New Zealand so that you can book the perfect activity online instantly – be it tandem sky diving, hot air ballooning or V8 racing – on the particular day that you want to go. We’re trying to make the process of planning your weekends, holidays and days off as painless as possible with thousands of activities to choose from.

GoDo activities Taranaki

Take a leisurely wander down any of Taranaki’s main streets, and you’ll be amazed at the selection of international and New Zealand flavours your palate can enjoy. Savour fresh ocean catches at coastal cafes, relish a latte in a cosmopolitan downtown bistro, or gaze out to sea in an upmarket gourmet restaurant.

From superb steaming coffee at an alpine café, to delicate whitebait fritters, hot Indian curries and aromatic Asian fare, there’s something for everyone in Taranaki. Country pubs that offer a glimpse into rural New Zealand, wine bars and nightclubs that add flavour to a night out, award-winning food in classic environs. We can offer you the world of culinary excellence.

You can also experience local wine at Pohangina Valley Estate, a small family run vineyard just 25 minutes from Palmerston North. This vineyard produces pinot noir, pinot gris and chardonnay wine varieties and whilst only on their third vintage the owners have picked up a silver medal in Cuisine and two bronze medals at the Abrogato Wine awards. The vineyard is part of a working farm and olive grove. The vineyard provides a unique experience for visitors providing the opportunity to meet and talk with the owners in a picturesque setting.

The best way to experience Taranaki is by foot, from one of the province's best kept secrets - a walking trail.  Covering every corner of the region, and all levels of fitness, walking in Taranaki will take you deep into the heart of our unique natural environment.

Mount Damper Falls walk, 59km north of New Plymouth – 30 minutes.  The walk to Mt Damper Falls is well marked and leads to the lookout platform. At 74m high, Mount Damper Falls are one of the highest in the North Island. From the car park step over the style and walk over the formed track beside the creek. The first ten minutes are over open farmland. Follow the track until you reach the bridge, from where the bush starts. The track descends gradually to the viewing platform.

New Plymouth Coastal Walkway, New Plymouth – an easy/moderate walk taking approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.  The river mouth also marks the start point of the international award winning New Plymouth Coastal Walkway, a seven kilometre walking and cycling route along the city’s foreshore to Port Taranaki.

Pukekura Park, New Plymouth - is a world-renowned park located in the heart of New Plymouth city. The park covers approximately 52 hectares and contains a diverse range of landscapes, including many plant collections, exotic specimen trees, formal gardens, lakes and walks.

Lake Rotorangi Walk, New Plymouth – an attractive short 40 minute lakeside walk located at the southern end of Lake Rotorangi. The walkway takes you across the spillway and dam and through virgin bush filled with Tawa and Hinau. A feature of the walkway is a grove of black beech.

Meeting of the Waters / Araheke Bush Walk, New Plymouth – picnic beside the Waiwhakaiho River and choose from two easy short walks suitable for all the family. Both walks can be accessed from the Meeting of the Waters carpark.

Even with a small population of 100,000 people, Taranaki offers a fantastic range of golf courses - whether you want to experience a 9 hole true country style or championship course.

Ngamotu, New Plymouth - ranked one of the top 5 golf courses in New Zealand, a must for every golfer to play.  The course is maintained in great condition, and has generous width fairways lined with stately mature pohutukawa trees. Mt Taranaki is always picturesque to the South, and the Tasman sea to the North provides breath taking views of the magnificent coast line stretching from Cape Egmont in the West to the Waikato in the North-East.

Waitara Golf Club, Waitara - situated 21 kms north of New Plymouth. A challenging 18 hole links course overlooking the Tasman Sea coastline. There is a well stocked golf shop with carts and clubs available for rental. Motor home parking is also available at the Club House for a nominal charge.

Inglewood Golf Club - five minutes north of Inglewood and 15 minutes south of New Plymouth. An easy walking 18 hole par 68, 4806 metres (men) 4394 metres (women), with tree-lined fairways and beautiful mountain views.

Opunake Golf Course - located 3kms north of Opunake. A challenging 18 hole par 71 course, 5309 metres. Opunake offers golfers a hospitable welcome and a true country experience with fairway mowing complemented by sheep grazing the course.

Te Ngutu Golf Course - one of South Taranaki’s most picturesque 18 hole golf courses. Turn off at Normanby Hotel, Normanby. Tree-lined fairways, some bunkered greens and fairways, par 71. Easy to average walking. Professional golf shop.

Wanganui boasts two championship golf courses, and an 18 hole public course:

The Belmont Course, Wanganui - with modern facilities and professional grooming Belmont is open all year round for amateur and professional golfers alike.

Castlecliff Links, Wanganui - home to the Castlecliff Golf Club, which offer good firm playing conditions all year round.