Home to a very distinctive mountain
Rising 2,518 metres, the cone-shaped volcanic peak of Mt Taranaki (Mt Egmont) is a dramatic feature of the Taranaki region. Important both spiritually and physically, this mountain exerts its presence on the weather, the environment and the people that live around it. And of course, where there’s a mountain, there’s adventure.
But there’s much more to Taranaki than just the mountain. There’s also over 150 km of rugged coastline with incredible rock formations, beautiful beaches and a number of world-class surf breaks. Sitting roughly in the middle of this coast is the seaside city of New Plymouth which comes alive in summer with music festivals and events.
Taranaki has gotten a lot of exposure thanks to being named as Lonely Planet’s second best region in the world to visit in 2017. While these kinds of rankings don’t hold much sway on us, we do think that Taranaki is definitely worth visiting if you have the time and are not in a rush to get to the South Island like most.
Top things to do in Taranaki
Looking for ideas to help you plan the ultimate New Zealand outdoor adventure? Here are some of the top things for active travellers to see and do in the Taranaki region.
Explore Egmont National Park
With three entry points from the northeast, east and southeast, Egmont is one of the most accessible of New Zealand’s national parks. And with over 300 km of walking tracks from short nature walks to epic multi-day treks, the park has something to offer every level of adventurer. There’s even a summit climb for those who are fit and well prepared, bearing in mind that this should only be attempted in good weather.
There are two Department of Conservation (DOC) visitor centres on the mountain at North Egmont and Dawson Falls which have displays and track information. You can also find out more on the DOC website.
Visit Tongaporutu and the White Cliffs Walkway
Tongaporutu is a small coastal settlement approximately 65 km / 40 miles north of New Plymouth. This stretch of constantly changing coastline is well known for its spectacular layered rock formations including what now remains of the once iconic Elephant Rock. This beach and the nearby White Cliffs Walkway are well worth exploring although careful attention to the tides is important as access is only safe at low tide.
Drive Surf Highway 45
Highway 45 is a 105 km / 65 mile stretch of road that follows the Taranaki coast from New Plymouth in the north to Hawera in the south. The coastline is home to numerous world-class surf breaks including 4 of New Zealand’s 19 nationally significant surf breaks. The unique shape of the curving coastline means that no matter what the wind and swell direction, you should be able to find good conditions. Even if you don’t intend to surf, it’s still a worthwhile scenic drive.