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Taranaki, New ZealandNew Plymouth Scenic Highlights

New Plymouth | Regional Information | Activity Highlights | Scenic Highlights | History

From the wild black sand beaches on the road to New Plymouth to the dramatic, snow-capped, volcanic Mount Taranaki, you will be left in awe of the Taranaki region.

New Plymouth Scenic Highlights Overview

New Plymouth is a beautiful city gazing out to sea on the Pacific coast. Inland are the lush green lands of dairy country that have been shaped by the magnificent and mysterious Mount Taranaki/Egmont rising starkly out of the plains.

Mount Taranaki/Egmont

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. View of Mount Taranaki from Lake Mangamahoe, Taranaki, New Zealand
View of Mount Taranaki
from Lake Mangamahoe
Taranaki
Photographer: Josh Woskett
(jwoskett@lycos.com)

Mount Taranaki/Egmont dominates the inland view from New Plymouth, this near symmetrical volcano stands 2,518 metres high with another secondary cone (Fanthams Peak) rising to 1,966 metres. The volcano is known by two names, Taranaki - its Maori name and Egmont - its European name. Mount Taranaki/Egmont is an active but quiescent stratovolcano, with one of the most symmetrical volcanic cones in the world. Because of its resemblance to Japan's Mount Fuji, Mount Taranaki featured in the movie The Last Samurai. Its last eruption was in the mid-18th century.

For those who make the climb up the mountain, Mount Taranaki offers spectacular scenery of the surrounds. Standing as it does in isolation from other mountains it is one of the best peaks from which to get an elevated view of another New Zealand - the rural heartland. For those wanting a more relaxing experience there are beautiful walks through verdant forest to waterfalls, wetlands and excellent viewpoints. Since the area has high annual rainfall and a mild coastal climate there is a lush rainforest covering the foothills - this forest is nationally significant as it is totally absent of beech trees (genus Nothofagus).

Coastal Walkway

The award winning seven-kilometre Coastal Walkway stretches almost the entire length of the city. Here you can walk, jog, cycle, or skate to take in the city's perspective on the Tasman Ocean. This paved promenade will place you right on the edge of the west coast. Parts of the seawall are punctured by finger piers, so you can enjoy the full vista of the coastline.

Beginnings on the Coastal Walkway at Hickford Park, meander through picturesque farmland continue past the Waipu Lagoons, then the walkway starts hugging the coastline where you will walk alongside the New Plymouth Golf Club before reaching Te Rewa Rewa Reserve.

Other Scenic Highlights

New Plymouth is home to beautiful botanic gardens including Te Kainga Marire - Maori for the peaceful encampment. This garden is a skilfully designed inner-city native garden that mimics New Zealand's natural environment. This harmonious garden weaves subtle textures and colours with quirky forms. Lush ferns, wetland plants, alpine treasures and native trees here make up a microcosm of the New Zealand landscape.

Other scenic highlights include a curious 45 metre artwork known as the Wind Wand designed by artist Len Lye.

Pukekura Park and the Bowl of Brooklands

Festival of Lights at Pukekura Park in New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand
Festival of Lights
Pukekura Park
New Plymouth, Taranaki

In the centre of New Plymouth is Pukekura Park—a botanical wonder that was first opened in 1876, changing the area from a swamp into a public recreation ground. Over the intervening years it has developed into about 52 hectares of lush native bush and groomed gardens within a city that has grown around it. The park contains two lakes—one of which has wooden rowboats for hire—a children's playground, cricket ground, fernery and display houses, kiosk, fountain and waterfall, historic band rotunda and the Bowl of Brooklands.

National and international acts regularly perform at the Bowl, a natural amphitheatre. Its night-time concerts cannot be missed for the unique and memorable experiences the Bowl provides both audiences and performers. Right next to the Bowl are beautiful English-style gardens and a children's zoo.

Pukekura Park is the venue for the spectacular Festival of Lights. From December to February every year, hundreds of lighting displays turn the park into a huge illuminated fantasyland.

» Pukekura Park Information

New Plymouth Accommodation

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