Tarananki is great – After heading there twice I feel the need to highly recommend going to visit. The region is around 3/4 hours drive from Wellington, or from Auckland and provides a little undiscovered section of the well traveled North Island that is super underrated. If you need more encouragement than that, then this post is to give you my 6 BIG reasons to visit Taranaki…here goes:
1. Soaring Mount Egmont
One of the most stunning views in the world I am sure. The giant majestic Mount Egmont stands alone at the center of Taranaki and it almost defines the area. It is beautiful and can look completely different depending on the light, time of day and weather. Drive up to the Dawson Falls car park and stroll around the paths or tackle the mountain itself, although this can be perilous.
You can even ski on the mountain however I believe its not a simple resort. Anyway Taranaki is the home of Mount Egmont which is super amazing which is well worth a trip to see.
2. The BEAUTIFUL beaches
The beaches along the coast of Taranaki are spectacular. Vast, empty and beautiful with great surf. They also have black sand caused by ancient volcanic eruptions. Although no beach from Taranaki was named in the New Zealand top 10 beaches, these beaches definitely have a lot to offer and are particularly popular with surfers who find there to be lots of space. Which is why the coastal road that runs along the west coast is famously named Surf Highway 45.
If you like fishing, walking, surfing, great views or just lying on the beach then you will find something to do in Taranaki.
3. It was the winner of The Lonely Planet Second Best Region to visit in 2017
Taranaki was a surprising winner of second place in the Lonely Planet regions to visit in 2017. And if that is not an accolade to be proud of, I don’t know what is! Taranaki came in behind Choquequirao in Peru, but ahead of areas such as the Azores in Portugal, North Wales and South Australia.
4. The strange but great Republic of Whangamomona
A drive out of Stratford along the Forgotten Highway, a spectacular scenery drive, takes you to a little ‘off the wall’ town named the Republic of Wangamomona.
Whangamomona is most interesting for its self proclaimed Republic status. The township declared themselves a republic in 1989 as an objection to the redrawing of boundary lines and now holds a ‘Republic Day’ every two years. The town itself is tiny and its main attraction is the funny old pub the Whangamomona Hotel.
This is definitely worth a visit for its weirdness if nothing else!
A strange setting for such a museum perhaps, the Len Lye Centre or Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is a contemporary art museum of international reputation and reach. Located in New Plymouth, Taranaki’s largest town New Zealand’s first contemporary gallery and an architectural masterpiece is located in the renovated Regent Theatre.
Known for its unique collection of film and kinetic art, the gallery is recommended for any art lover and houses the work of sometimes controversial pioneer filmmaker, sculptor, painter and poet Len Lye. The building itself was designed by New Zealand architect Andrew Patterson and is a contemporary interpretation of the essence of Lye and a major cultural destination on the Pacific Rim.
Its beautiful, go see it!
6. The lack of people!
My personal favourite reason for loving Taranaki is that it is not very touristy. It is a real place with real people and although it is arguably not as beautiful as other parts of New Zealand, it is not as crowded with people so you feel like have a little something all to yourself (very rare on our planet!)
Perhaps Taranaki will start getting busier as the NZ population grows and as the Lonely Planet readers flood in, who knows. So now, more than ever, is the time to go and check it out.
Thanks for reading and come back soon!
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