While the perfectly conical snow-capped Mt Taranaki is the region’s biggest draw card, there are plenty of exciting outdoor and cultural activities that will keep you in this region longer than you planned. Go from surfing Taranaki’s world-class breaks (it has more than 105km of the country’s best breaks along the aptly named Surf Highway 45), to browsing contemporary art in the region’s cosmopolitan “big little city’s” (New Plymouth) thriving arts scene, to hiking the slopes of Mount Taranaki. From sea to sky, Taranaki has it all.

Cool facts

  • Mount Taranaki starred as Mount Fuji in The Last Samurai.
  • Blooming marvellous: Taranaki is home to seven gardens ranked five stars and above by the New Zealand Gardens Trust. At any time of the year, dozens of public and private gardens can be viewed, with many more open in spring when two garden festivals run.

Must do's

  • At low tide, take stroll along the beach at Tongaporutu (North Taranaki) to see two (formerly three) rock formations known as Three Sisters. Next to these is the Elephant Rock.
  • Explore the Forgotten World Highway 43 (between Stratford and Tamaranui), New Zealand oldest heritage trail.
  • Climb the Mt Taranaki summit, an 8-10 hour return spectacular walk. Note: Preparation is required for the walk, and if you're not experienced, take a guide.
  • Try the world’s first “sledged hydro dam,” or dam drop, available through Kaitiaki Adventures in the summer months. Take a dam, add a few lunatics strapped to body boards and you’ve got a unique Kiwi adrenaline rush!

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North Taranaki

North Taranaki offers visitors an intriguing mix of beaches, golf courses, arts and crafts, gardens, walkways and sites of historic significance to all of New Zealand.  It was also the location for the shooting of the Hollywood film The Last Samurai.  Waitara is this region’s largest town.  Situated in the Waitara River Valley, Waitara was the site of the outbreak of the Taranaki Wars in 1860, and the Manukorihi Pa, set above the town, features a magnificent carved meeting house that can be explored.  Today, dairy farms, hill country beef and sheep farms and energy plants make up the economic base of the northern communities. 

On the North Taranaki coast, near Tongaporutu, you can see two (formerly three) 25-metre rock formations known as the Three Sisters, as well as the Elephant Rock.

New Plymouth

New Plymouth is a seaside city is centred around its bustling port and cultural core.  It is fast becoming a lifestyle destination for big-city dwellers keen to escape urban grind.   Tranquil Lake Mangamahoe is just ten minutes from the city, and the circuit walk takes you on a journey around the lake through forests and up to impressive lookouts and among mature ornamental tree plantings.  Within the city, Pukekura Park has acres to explore, and there are numerous gardens of significance all within driving distance.  New Plymouth is also the proud home to the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, one of the world’s most prestigious modern galleries. 


The township of Stratford is the gateway to the Egmont National Park.  This expansive area offers a huge range of outdoor activities, including 140kms of hiking trails.  A highlight of this region is the road between Stratford and Taumarunui, known as the Forgotten World Highway 43, a three-hour trip that threads its way through pristine subtropical rainforest.  The remote highway hugs the rugged contours of the land, twisting its way over four mountain saddles, through an eerie one-way tunnel and along a sinuous river gorge.   Along its length are constant reminders of settlers who tried to scratch out a living in the wild, isolated hill country.  The almost-ghost town of Whangamomona can be explored on the way; once a flourishing town it declined after the great flood of 1924.  For a deeper understanding of local history, follow the sign from Aukopae Landing to Nukunuku Museum.

South Taranaki

South Taranaki boasts a rugged coastline and offers fantastic surfing and windsurfing, famed for Surf Highway 45, one of the best surf coastlines in the world.  Along the highway, the Cape Egmont Lighthouse visibly marks the western-most point of the Taranaki Coast. Hawera, located 75km south of New Plymouth on State Highway 3, is home to “Whareroa”, the largest dairy factory complex in the world.  The town was destroyed by fires thrice, and a huge water tower was built in the town centre to increase water pressure’ it’s quite apt that Hawera in Maori means “burnt place”.  Just 20km north of Hawera is Eltham, known as a town of industrial firsts, with impressive historical buildings throughout the town. Opunake, situated on the coast half way between New Plymouth and Hawera, is considered one of Taranaki’s best surf beaches, and is a popular holiday destination for Taranaki locals.


Getting here and around:

New Plymouth has a domestic air terminal that enjoys full transport services by Air New Zealand Link. 

It is connected to North Island towns, including major tourist areas such as Rotorua and Lake Taupo, via scheduled buses.  Bus services offer regular timetables around the region, particularly linking New Plymouth with Inglewood, Stratford, Eltham, Hawera, Oakura, Okato, Opunake and Patea.

Tourism operators also offer shuttles up to Mt Taranaki and Egmont National Park on a regular basis


Spring (Sep-Nov) – warming up, clear days with cool showers, 8-18°C; Summer (Dec-Feb) – dry and sunny, 21-30°C; Mar-May – cooler but clear and settled, 9-20°C; Winter – cool sea breezes and heavy rain possible, 6-17°C.

Taranaki Accommodation

  • The Metrotel

    The Metrotel, New Plymouth Motels & Motor Lodges

    We’ve designed The Metrotel Motel with our guests in mind. We worked closely with our architects to ensure that all of our guests’...

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  • New Plymouth TOP 10 Holiday Park

    New Plymouth TOP 10 Holiday Park, New Plymouth Holiday Parks & Camping Grounds

    New Plymouth TOP 10 Holiday Park is situated in the heart of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand. Our holiday park accommodation options cater for...

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  • Belt Road Seaside Motel

    Belt Road Seaside Motel, New Plymouth Motels & Motor Lodges

    Belt Road Seaside Holiday Park is a quality 4-star holiday park and has amazing views of the Tasman Sea and Port Taranaki. They offer a great range of...

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  • White Eagle Motel 2009

    White Eagle Motel 2009, Inglewood Motels & Motor Lodges

    WHITE EAGLE MOTEL 09   Refurbished 2012 Contempary modern units with artistic flair 7 quiet sunny off road ground floor units Range of 5...

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  • Belt Road Seaside Holiday Park

    Belt Road Seaside Holiday Park, New Plymouth Holiday Parks & Camping Grounds

    Belt Road Seaside Holiday Park is a quality 4-star holiday park and has amazing views of the Tasman Sea and Port Taranaki. They offer a great range of...

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  • Kerry Lane Motel

    Kerry Lane Motel, Hawera Motels & Motor Lodges

    Kerry Lane Motel offers accommodation in Hawera. Accommodation comprises of 27 units with mountain views including 16 studio, sleep 2-3; 4 x 1...

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Taranaki Activites

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