@Taranaki Gliding Club
FLY A GLIDER
Learn to fly a glider. In flight, you may be moving in three dimensions simultaneously which is a bit different. The essential thing is to build one’s judgement to successfully land the glider. The Taranaki Gliding Club has experienced instructors who will guide you through the learning process.
LEARN TO SURF
Learn, practice or show off your surfing credentials on the iron sand beach of Oakura. Vertigo Surf: Surfboards will hire you a board or provide a surfing lesson. Vertigo runs surf lessons for all ages and abilities year round with 4 SNZ (Surfing New Zealand)/ ISA (International Surf Association) approved surf instructors on hand. Join the fun in an authentic beach community where surfing is a way of life.
Chaddy’s Charter will organise a harbour cruise to Sugar Loaf Island to view marine life. As well, Chaddy’s hires bikes, kayaks and paddleboards. Fishing trips are private charter or operating during the peak summer season.
Top Guides guided tours of Mount Taranaki and walks in Egmont National Park.
Discover numerous walking trails throughout Taranaki. Remember to carry layers even in the warm summer months with the mountain and ocean conspiring to influence sudden temperature changes during the day.
Opunake beach at low tide, Surf Highway 45, Taranaki
BEACHES – TARANAKI
Detour down side roads to remote beaches. Fossick along driftwood beaches with their pounding surf and watch the wetsuit clad dedicated surfers challenge the elements. Enjoy Surf Highway and towns such as Oakura with its huge surfboard declaring its love for the ocean. Taranaki offers visitors ocean and river fishing. Chadder Charters will organise a fishing charter for groups or families from New Plymouth. South Taranaki has great surf casting spots where estuaries meet the sea. Follow the coast along Surf Highway for 105 km to Hawera with side roads leading to world class surf breaks. Polish your surfing skills in Oakura or Opunake beaches.
GARDENS & PARKS
Discover New Zealand’s North Island premier garden province with outstanding private and public gardens. Taranaki’s climate is ideal for one of the powerhouses of the agricultural economy, the dairy industry. This climate has additionally created beautiful private and public gardens. A showcase for Taranaki is the Taranaki Garden Festival. Glorious backyards with secret surprises, sweeping vistas of garden excellence and art studios in idyllic surroundings are open to the public for a period of ten days. The spring festival has been an annual event for over 30 years.
THINGS TO DO FOR FAMILIES
Explore the outdoors with Short Walks in New Plymouth & Taranaki. Consider hiring a bike to spend time at The Taranaki Cycle Park including a 1.75km closed road circuit complete with traffic lights and roundabouts. For kids who love animals Taranaki is a great place to visit several attractions with exotic and farm animals.
There are several zoos for families from the Brooklands Zoo located in Pukeiti Gardens to Pouakai Zoo, a former wildlife reserve for kids to get up close to exotic animals from lions, monkeys, ostriches and farm animals. Ashley Park with its farm animals is a favourite with a lake, dinghies to hire and swimming.
- Pouakai Zoo, originally a wildlife sanctuary, is a zoo for exotic and native animals. There are lions, gibbons, donkeys, ostriches and a range of farm animals. Admission fees apply
- BROOKLANDS ZOO nestled within Pukekura Gardens is home to a walk-through aviary, exotic and native animals. Admission is free.
@Ashley Gorge Holiday Park
- Ashley Park offers visitors a lake for swimming and boating, aviaries and farm animals to pet and feed. There are deer, sheep, donkeys and miniature horses. Swim, play mini golf, tennis or petanque. During the season there are farm walks and the opportunity to join in seasonal activities including sheep shearing and haymaking. Victorian and Georgian antiques are for sale in our tea shop where you can enjoy lunch or morning and afternoon tea. Ashley Park is fully licensed and can cater for large groups.
- TSB Aquatic Centre is superb with hydroslides, wave pool and various pool depths. There is a cafe, indoor spa facilities and shop.
- South Taranaki museum and New Plymouth’s Puke Ariki Museum offer well regarded kids scavenger hunts, treasure hunts and programmes especially during the school holidays.
TIP: A great place for rainy days.
FESTIVALS – TARANAKI
Taranaki should be on the must-go list for festival followers with concerts in beautiful parks from King Edward Park (Hawera) to Pukekura Gardens (New Plymouth). Festivals range from celebrating spring blooms or a carnival atmosphere of the surf culture. New Plymouth locals enjoy the A & P (Agricultural and Produce) shows in the country towns. An A & P show has prize winning farm pets, home baked goodies, circus style entertainment, sheep dog trials and agricultural equipment displays. It is where town meets urban with everyone enjoying a hotdog and candy floss on a stick.
- 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 during the summer months
- Oakura Arts Trail in October visitors are invited into studios to see artists at work. All year is a self-guided trail (see travel pack section for details).
- Butlers Reef, (Oakura) is a stalwart in the hospitality scene and is the home to regular summer gigs. The hotel is 150 years old and has been entertaining locals forever.
- The Opunake beach carnival complete with Miss Opunake contest is part of the summer highlights. The town boosts surf life saving champions.
Festival of Light
- Opunake October wool festival. The place is festooned with pompoms, crochet, knitted tree covers, colourful wool products are a decorator’s vision of knitted nirvana.
- Americarna (INGLEWOOD) showcasing American cars, especially muscle cars, attracts hundreds of showroom quality classic American cars and thousands of tourists to Taranaki every February
- Taranaki Garden Festival showcasing the best of private and public gardens over 10 days. The veteran festival provides an opportunity to view gardens otherwise closed to visitors during the year. The festival is accompanied by live concerts in garden settings, art displays in parks and gardens throughout Taranaki
- Festival of Light from December to February in New Plymouth is a summer festival favourite with visitors drawn to the light installations in Pukeiti Gardens, live evening entertainment, pop up food stalls and accompanying attractions in New Plymouth and elsewhere
NOTABLE BUILDINGS - TARANAKI
ART & HERITAGE – PLACES OF INTEREST IN TARANAKI
GALLERIES, ART & CRAFT - TARANAKI
SHOPPING – TARANAKI
Taranaki is a shopping retail therapy destination you have probably never even considered. New Plymouth with its galleries, fascinating shops packed with collectables and fashionable wear is just the start. Get on the road, dump the surfing fraternity at the beach and hit the shops in Hawera, Eltham and… And the list goes on. Due to the impact of covid19 it is wise to check opening hours and mourn if the shop is deceased, gone the way of many great businesses.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
Taranaki is home to one of the world’s beautiful mountains, Mount Taranaki with its delicious shaped triangle of snow and bush clad sides. New Plymouth and the surrounding region is an art and culture smoresborgh of experiences topped with black sand surf beaches challenging the senses. It is no wonder Taranaki delivers a punch in the food, wine, craft beer and gin scene.
Your night in the town, perhaps at the TSB Centre for a theatre showing or a leisurely brunch in town or a road trip on the Surf Highway is a food discovery journey. From relaxing by the ocean cafes, to city donut secrets, from a Juno Gin tour to Mikes Brewery there are plenty of foodie treats and drinks to keep the energy levels up.
Uncover some of the food adventures in New Plymouth awaiting visitors to Taranaki and New Plymouth.
TOWNS – TARANAKI
Take in the sight of Mount Taranaki, the rolling hills, coastline and innovative architectural styles make this small town a favourite place for art and craft buffs to visit. While the town has 74,000 permanent residents New Plymouth and the surrounding Taranaki district has the heart of an international city with its cultural events and art galleries. Less than 5% of international visitors manage to get to New Plymouth which leaves plenty of space for visitors to binge on New Plymouth’s cultural attractions. For more information about what to see and do in New Plymouth check out New Plymouth travel guide.
Take in the flowering magnificent rhododendrons in the spring season in PUKEITI GARDENS. The world class collection of plants is free to wander at will. Outdoors offers plenty of kid friendly activities. Let’s get the kids outside and explore some of the great Short Walks in New Plymouth & Taranaki – Best Bits. From exploring fantasy mossy glades in the Egmont National Park to regional gems there is plenty to do and see. Uncover Egmont National Park and Mount Taranaki with over 200km of trails to wander.
What’s so great kiwi towns in Taranaki has plenty of ideas of what to do with kids.
Goblin forest in Taranaki
WHERE TO STAY
New Plymouth has a range of accommodation choices from boutique hotels packed with personality such as Nice Hotel and premium hotel chains are well represented. New Plymouth is an ideal location for a weekend getaway or an overnight stay in Taranaki as it is a natural hub for attractions and events. For longer stays consider regional towns in the area from Eltham, Hawera or communities on the Surf Highway route.
Taranaki offers a great camping choice from classic no frills by the beach to comfortable holiday parks. Be prepared to leave the pet at home as most places will not accept your pooch in the peak summer season. Freedom camping is allowed in Taranaki check out Camping in Taranaki for details.
BEST TIME TO GO
Late December to mid March for summer activities.
The summer is between 19c – 25c. The warm season is short with cold, wet winters. It can be windy year round and partly cloudy. The coldest temperature is around 9c. It does not snow in New Plymouth. Surfers are usually wearing wetsuits year round as the water temperature is cool. Carry layers as the weather is changeable year round.
Taranaki Three Sisters
There is a domestic airport 11 km from the city centre. There is shuttle service, Scott’s Airport Shuttle, taxis and rental cars situated at the airport. As it is a regional airport some services operate only when flights are arriving and departing. Ensure you have contact details on hand to avoid delays.
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TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION