Hawera has charm. You are beguiled by the quirky collections of Elvis Presley and Tawhiti Museum, the passionate dedication of volunteers who have created beautiful spaces, Newell Lakes and cleared rubbish to recreate Goodson Dell and then there is a water tower. Who knew a practical water tower would become a tourist attraction.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Year round as if it is raining there are fascinating museums to visit and art galleries are indoors.
An alternative hub for a leisurely exploration of Taranaki or a perfect reason for a day trip from New Plymouth
- Gardens and parks to linger in from a search for possible goblins in Naumai Park to Goodson Dell and King Edward Park’s manicured lawns.
- Iconic town structure, Hawera Water Tower and other heritage buildings
- Leisurely strolls and walkways encompassing farmland and historic pa (village sites)
- Quirky museums dedicated to dead rock stars with blue suede shoes and a museum chock full of scale models of Taranaki, endless fascination for all age groups
- Wait for sunset to capture the glorious vistas of Mount Taranaki (in case it’s raining there is plenty to do otherwise)
4 FUN THINGS TO DO IN HAWERA IN A FEW HOURS
Just passing through here’s a taste of Hawera and it’s sure to draw you back for a second visit.
- Overcome vertigo and climb the iconic Hawera Water Tower
- Visit Elvis Presley, admire Kevin D Wasley’s blue suede shoes at Elvis’s shrine, Hawera style
- Visit stunning TAWHITI MUSEUM and immerse yourself in recreated Taranaki, scaled down of course. Hang out in the backroom studios to find out how dioramas and models were created
- Culture fixes are easy when you can linger in Lysaght Watt gallery. Perhaps support a local artist with a permanent memory
- Ohawe beach black sands, ocean scattered driftwood, shells and rugged coastline is a great place for a beach walk.
- Ohawe Beach to Waihi Beach Coastal Walk is a walk governed by the tide. Plenty of beach foraying opportunities
- Nowell’s Lake is surrounded by the coastal sand dune belt. The lakeside has been planted with thousands of swan plants making the walk a late spring, summer favourite with locals intent on spotting the monarch butterflies.
- Te Ara Hīkoi ki te Arawhiti o Manawapou (the Manawapou Viaduct Walkway). follows the former Ingahape Road through farmland to the historical Manawapou Viaduct.
- King Edward Park homage to English planting style is a beautiful introduction to the small town
PARKS AND GARDENS
King Edward Parklearn more
Goodson Delllearn more
Naumai Parklearn more
Nowell's Lakes Walkwayslearn more
Public gardens nearby include:
Puketarata Gardens and rhododendrons is synonymous yet the gardens are worth a visit year round
Tawhiti Museumlearn more
Museum of South Taranaki Aotea Utanganuilearn more
K.D’s Elvis Presley Museumlearn more
- Goodson Dell to find the goblins
- King Edward park for a picnic and check out the playground
- Tawhiti Museum to marvell at exhibits
- Nowell’s Lakes to see what the local school children have built
- Climb the Hawera water tower with Mum & Dad
While Hawera has the standard range of shops supporting the locals it is not a shopping destination. The pull of New Plymouth has discouraged the development of a vigorous retail sector.
HERITAGE SITES AND BUILDINGS
- A classic, Hawera A & P show draws crowds from New Plymouth hankering for a touch of nostalgia
- Arts in the Park in King Edward Park
- Let’s see what school kids can do to clean up rubbish dumps and check out the monarch butterflies in season at Newell Lake
- King Edward park for a picnic and an extensive playground
- Tawhiti museum with intriguing scale and lifesize models of Taranaki’s past.
- Alive with opportunity
Aotearoa NZ has the largest dairy factory in the world in terms of output. At Whareroa, just outside Hawera, Taranaki. Over 14 million litres of milk processed per day. The plant has its own freight rail network.
- Goodson Guerrillas aka Hawera walking club members who laboured in Goodson Dell to resurrect a rubbish dump into the glorious public reserve it is today. Environmental heroines.
- Sudoku fans, it’s a worldwide success story, Wayne Gould, the powerhouse behind the game is originally from Hawera
- Golfer Michael Campbell is in the vicinity (played at Patea golf course)
- Novelist Fiona Kidman
- All Black captain Reuben Throne
- Who needs an Eiffel Tower and masses of tourists when you have the Hawera Water Tower to climb instead. It’s colossal, rises above the small town imposing its presence and is definitely not crowded with visitors. (Approximately 215 steps). You know the place is world famous when New Zealand in 1982 made Hawera Water Tower + cow into a postage stamp.
- Ronald Hugh Morrieson author 1922 – 1972
Author who achieved posthumous fame with cinema adaptations of novels, The Scarecrow (1963), Came a Hot Friday (1964), Predicament (1975) and Pallet on the Floor (1976). Provincial life with a sense of black humour. Ronald was a very heavy drinker, known for numerous affairs and local sexual exploits. He supported himself as a musician. Ron was the typical small town bad boy during his lifetime. His home was demolished and now there is a sparkling new KFC in its place. There has been a move to place a statue of Ronald in front of the KFC. This has not happened … yet.
- Fittingly there is Morrieson’s Bar and Restaurant – Bar – Hawera, New Zealand – 338 Photos in town named after the bad boy made good. Well worth a lunch stop.
WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIE
- Elvis Presley Museum
- Kaponga Horse Museum interior
- Nowell’s Lake with Fonterra factory in the background and the natural environment framing yourself
- Fonterra lit up at night is oddly attractive
- Fonterra large cow sculpture outside the factory gates
- Massive, enormous dairy tankers turning, give them right of way on the road.
Getting around Hawera
Hawera is 70 km from New Plymouth on state highway 3.
You will be driving through Inglewood and Stratford. Stratford bookends the FORGOTTEN HIGHWAY.
A vehicle is needed in Hawera as there is no public transport.
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TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION
Who turned up and named the place:
Hawera means burnt place reflecting when tribal warfare resulted in the burning of a wharemoe (sleeping house) during an attack. See travel pack information for further details around the meaning of the name. In 1866 Hawera was the site for a government military base and the town grew around the blockhouse.
Community members and Park supporters came together to form ‘The Friends of Hawera’s Parks’, a charitable trust dedicated to the guardianship, care and promotion of King Edward Park, Naumai Park and Goodson Dell, Hāwera. Working closely with the South Taranaki District Council Parks’ team. The Friends amalgamated the previous individual organisations ‘The Friends of King Edward Park’, ‘The Friends of Naumai Park’ and ‘The Goodson Guerrillas’.
Friends and other interested members of the community have the opportunity to take part in guided walks on which the history, botany, even the personalities associated with the parks may be explored, along with workshop events as different as rose pruning to tool sharpening, making hanging baskets for propagation. Giving back to the Park, regular Monday morning working bees see volunteers putting in an hour or two of weeding, painting or planting and having a lot of fun doing it. Follow them on Facebook on @FriendsofHaweraParks and contact them directly to enquire about membership.
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