FREE, Taranaki delivers in spades with handfuls of cultural stuff, amazing outdoors experiences, a zoo and a New Plymouth festival bursting with light. While the epicentre of free or budget low cost experiences is New Plymouth, Taranaki province is also a windfall of free things to do.
COASTAL WALKWAY & PUBLIC SCULPTURE
Len Lye Wind Wand whipping in the breeze on the 13 km coastal walkway and the magic of Te Rewa Rewa bridge framing Mount Taranaki are highlights. The shared walk passes lagoons, beaches, parks and is the prime location for a beachside promenade. Te Rewa Rewa Bridge is a shared bridge across the Waiwhakaiho River.
Collect a free mobility scooter from the Todd Energy Aquatic Centre to explore the walkway. The scooters are available every day, except Christmas.
Amazing, a petite zoo that has free entry. The inner city haven has an adjacent playground and picnic tables. Meerkats with their endearing trait of popping upright to view the surroundings, slinky otters in their waterworld and the kiwi local kunekune pigs looking very well fed.
KOHA or donations are welcome.
HISTORIC WALKS – SELF-GUIDED
New Plymouth self-guided tour of exploring the use of stone in New Plymouth from weaponry to buildings and as a creative material. There is the cost of the booklet from the visitor centre with a detailed walking map. The easy walk and guide book is approximately NZ$5.
FESTIVALS – TSB FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS – TRENDING
Grab a festival light wand and you’re ready to join the nighttime fun. The festival is located in the verdant Pukekura Park and is a treasure trove of light installations, light shows and excited people celebrating the joy of nightlight. The festival is from December to February so it does not feel overcrowded. For more information about Pukekura Park check Taranaki Guide.
Look for the waterfalls and backlit fountains. Fantasy comes to life where forest walks are lit within.
ADVENTURE BECKONS – PARITUTU ROCK – TRENDING
Think about a vertical 100 metres, a robust chain to hoist yourself up to the summit and Paritutu Rock delivers. Naturally spectacular views of New Plymouth, the ocean and Sugar Loaf Island. This is a favourite instagram location with numerous snaps of sunset on the summit.
EXPLORE OAKURA BEACH & BEYOND
Drive Surf Highway 45 and discover Oakura with its massive surfboard hinting at the town’s focus. The gnarly ocean swells where the surfers hang loose. There are coffee shops, a water tower to climb in Hawera and Inglewood with its memorial gates and the largest rhododendron selfie against.
Check out Manaia, a favourite spot for dog lovers and huge loaf of bread as the town’s mascot.
SEARCH FOR GOBLINS
A classic Taranaki experience on the must-do list for anyone who is thrilled when fantasy comes to life. Imagine moss covered twisted trunks, hanging vines and fern filled undergrowth whispering of otherworldly beings. Egmont National Park is an outdoors free treat for all age groups.
POOLS TODD ENERGY AQUATIC CENTRE
BUDGET CONSCIOUS ENTRY entry into contemporary indoor / outdoor water sport arena with hydroslides, sauna, spa and diving platforms. The pool is located on the Coastal Walkway. There is plenty of car parking close by, with mobility parking directly in front of the entrance. Other pools in Taranaki are Fitzroy, Waitara pool, Inglewood, Okato pool. All pools do not charge entry for preschoolers.
New Plymouth has the glorious Pukekura Park and is one of the most well-known parks in New Zealand. New Plymouth green spaces are stunning with Pukekura Park in the centre of the city. The gardens are home to the Brooklands Zoo. The lake and tea house are popular meeting points for locals. For visitors interested in Taranaki’s gardens 10 Taranaki Gardens & Parks worth a detour, travel guide: Best Bits there are a number of public gardens in Taranaki with no entrance fees, from the Hollard Gardens, King Edward Park and Tupare with its beautiful arts and crafts homestead nestled in the centre.
BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE.