Taranaki has impressed travel bible Lonely Planet, which named it one of the world's best regions to visit in 2017. So, what are you waiting for? Come and see what all the fuss is about.
We play away with Avis and find out for ourselves why Taranaki has impressed travel bible ‘Lonely Planet'.
Agood place to start is New Plymouth's “deliciously offbeat new gallery” - The Len Lye Centre, home to works by the pioneering kinetic sculptor and film maker. The building's curved facade is made of highly-polished stainless steel and concrete and is a work of art in itself. A five-minute walk away, don't miss Lye's kooky 45-metre Wind Wand, set against the wild backdrop of the Tasman Sea. A thin tube of fibreglass soars into the air, designed to arc and sway in the elements. At its peak, a red ball glows with 1,296 lights.
Stretch your legs with a stroll or cycle along the New Plymouth Coastal Walkway, a 12.7-kilometre-long promenade that hugs the coastline for the length of the city. There's selfie-inducing views of the mighty Tasman to enjoy, as well as public artworks dotted along the way. A highlight – the iconic and award-winning Te Rewa Rewa Bridge that spans the Waiwhakaiho River.
Pack walking shoes as well as golf clubs, and tackle the Pouakai Crossing. Lauded as one of the country's finest day walks, the route winds its way around the perfect volcanic cone of Mt Taranaki. Traverse otherworldly landscapes, where lava columns tower and streams run red, and spy the mirror reflection of Mt Taranaki in mountain tarns. At the day's end, recuperate with an indulgent soak at the Taranaki Thermal Spa, where therapeutic waters spring from one-kilometre underground.
Explore endless black sand beaches and epic surf breaks on Taranaki's Surf Highway 45, the coast road from New Plymouth to Hawera. Stop for a coffee and cake fix at Kin and Co Fine Foods in Oakura, where the world's biggest surfboard stands outside Butler's Reef Hotel, then get creative with a jewellery workshop at Ringcraft Moana. At Pungarehu, take a detour to the Cape Egmont Lighthouse, which started shining its light in 1881 in the face of staunch non-violent protest from those living at nearby Parihaka Pa. Grab a feed of fresh fish and handmade
Drive through untamed natural scenery on the Forgotten World Highway that runs between Stratford and Taumarunui. The 155-kilometre road follows ancient Maori trade routes and pioneering farm tracks, with spectacular views of Mount Taranaki to the west and the central North Island peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro to the east.
chips at Opunake Fish, Chips & More, and dine alfresco with a view of the rolling surf.
Drive through untamed natural scenery on the Forgotten World Highway that runs between Stratford and Taumarunui. The 155-kilometre road follows ancient Maori trade routes and pioneering farm tracks, with spectacular views of Mount Taranaki to the west and the central North Island peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro to the east. Break the journey at the entertaining Whangamomona Hotel, where lively locals declared their independence in 1988 after finding themselves on the wrong side of a council decision. In January, they celebrated 29 years of the republic with sheep races, gumboot throwing, possum skinning, and hold ups and shoot outs on the main drag, before electing a new president.
Back in the big smoke, wind down with dinner at Social Kitchen, a local favourite situated in the former Salvation Army Citadel. There's slowcooked pork belly, sourced down the road at Rubyfields free range farm, or angus steaks cooked in a charcoal oven and served up with chimichurri.
Family enjoying the sunset on Fitzroy Beach New Plymouth. Credit Rob Tucker
TSB Bank Festival of Lights - waterfall in Pukekura Park. Credit Rob Tucker
Big surf off the coast of New Plymouth. Credit Rob Tucker