Taranaki: Discover NZ’s Hidden Gem


Taranaki Aurora 2024 photo credit Dual Peaks Photography

Photo credit: Dual Peaks Photography

Located on the west coast of NZ’s North Island, Taranaki is an affordable place to visit year-round. Overlooked by Mt Taranaki, the region is a paradise for skiing, surfing, adventure seekers, food enthusiasts, families, lovers of arts and festivals, and those travelling on a budget.

Ski Mt Taranaki

Nestled in the heart of Taranaki, Manganui Ski Area stands as the region’s premier destination for snowboarding and skiing enthusiasts. Offering a blend of terrain suitable for beginners to advanced thrill-seekers, it’s a haven for snow sports lovers of all levels.

Accessing Manganui Ski Area is a picturesque journey via Upper Pembroke Road, passing by the Ngati Ruanui Stratford Mountain House and leading to the Plateau Carpark. From there, prepare for a scenic uphill stroll to the ski field, which typically takes around 20-25 minutes. Alternatively, a convenient Flying Fox lift awaits shortly after the walk’s commencement, ready to transport your equipment to the ski field.

Spanning 59 hectares, Manganui Ski Area boasts three rope tows and a T-bar, providing access to a range of beginner to intermediate slopes.

Campervan Rentals in Taranaki

R&R Campervans are a small locally owned family business with 5-star Google reviews, offering Taranaki campervan rentals in a variety of sizes and luxury options. They provide quality 2, 4 and 6 berth campervans for hire from New Plymouth. Pet friendly campervans are available.

The town of Stratford provides a diverse range of experiences, from cultural and historical exploration to outdoor adventures and family-friendly fun, ensuring that visitors to Stratford have plenty to enjoy.

Accommodation in Stratford

Stratford has many unique accommodation options.

Holiday Homes – Peaceful & Peachy’s on Pembrooke are 2 stand alone holiday homes with stunning views of Mt Taranaki. Each home is fully self-contained with full kitchen, smart TV’s, quality beds, appliances, and furnishings for your comfort. An affordable accommodation option for families, groups of friends, and business professionals working in the area. Bordering the Stratford Golf Course and racecourse, enjoy a beautiful rural outlook just 2 minutes’ drive to all amenities.

Mountain Chalet’s – Nestled on the sloped of Mt Taranaki, Stratford Mountain House offers a relaxing environment in an alpine setting. This property is an acclaimed mountain retreat nestled in the heart of scenic beauty. Indulge in our award-winning Mountain Café and Bar, offering a blend of culinary excellence and breathtaking views. Experience luxurious alpine accommodation, where elegance meets comfort. The Stratford Mountain House isn’t just a destination; it’s an ideal venue for intimate weddings, conferences, and special functions. Immerse yourself in the tranquillity of nature, with easy access to walking tracks showcasing the vibrant alpine flora and birdlife of Mount Taranaki, all within a leisurely stroll from our doorstep.

Luxury Accommodation – Just 11 km’s out of Stratford, experience opulent luxury reminiscent of European royalty at the The Old Eltham Post Office in the historic town of Eltham. This spacious apartment transports you to a bygone era with its stunning beauty and opulence. Enjoy modern comforts including full central heating, a large flatscreen TV, a luxurious spa bath. Indulge in locally sourced delicacies from a curated menu, including a sumptuous cooked breakfast featuring bacon, fresh eggs, and local ciabatta bread. Experience a stay fit for royalty in the heart of Eltham’s charming historic district.


Taranaki Pioneer Village. Taranaki Pioneer Village is a top Taranaki visitor attraction located on the main road, just south of Stratford, in Central Taranaki. The village is a prominent tourist destination in central Taranaki that captivates visitors of all ages, blending modern conveniences with a nostalgic journey through time as guests step into the village’s main street. This iconic Stratford attraction boasts 10 acres of park like gardens and buildings to explore, a large collection of historical buildings, artefacts and Taranaki stories.

Stratford Glockenspiel. This unique clock tower in the town centre plays scenes from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” four times a day, making it a must-see for both its artistic and historical value​ (Best Bits)​​ (Taranaki)​.

Forgotten World Highway. Starting in Stratford, this scenic 150 km route to Taumarunui offers a picturesque drive or cycle through rugged countryside, with historical points and stunning vistas along the way. Take an unforgettable journey on a rail cart tour from Taumarunui to Stratford (or vice versa).

Victoria Park and Stratford Children’s Bike Park, Stratford. Spend a fun-filled day at Victoria Park Playground and the nearby Stratford Children’s Bike Park. Located in Victoria Park, behind the playground, this park features a children’s cycle track for kids to learn and build bicycle confidence, a pump track, a half basketball court, and a BBQ pavilion.

Stratford Heritage Walkway. This trail includes several historical landmarks, such as the Malone Memorial Gates, which honour Lieutenant Colonel William Malone, a notable local figure and World War I hero.

Carrington Walkway. A scenic 9 km trail that meanders through urban bushland, providing stunning views of Mount Taranaki. The walk starts at the Malone Gates and offers various track options​.

Dawson Falls and Stratford Plateau Tracks. Located in Egmont National Park, these tracks offer beautiful walks through forests, past lava-sculpted pools, and up to subalpine scrub with views of the surrounding area. The return walk takes about 3.5 to 4 hours.

King Edward Park. A central green space featuring the McCullough Rhododendron Dell, various themed gardens, a playground, and tennis courts, making it a perfect spot for a leisurely day out.

Stratford Speedway. For those interested in motorsports, the speedway hosts stock car racing and other events, providing thrilling entertainment for car enthusiasts.

Cardiff Centennial Walkway. This 4 km walkway follows the Waingongoro River, combining natural beauty with historical sites. It’s an excellent option for a peaceful stroll and a picnic​.

New Plymouth serves as the major hub for the Taranaki region.  Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventure, cultural experiences, or simply relaxation by the sea, New Plymouth offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and urban charm.

Accommodation in New Plymouth

New Plymouth offers a diverse range of accommodation options to suit every traveller’s needs and preferences. Whether you’re seeking luxury, budget-friendly, or something in between, you’ll find a variety of choices in this vibrant coastal city. From boutique hotels and cosy motel units to modern apartments and seaside holiday homes, there’s something for everyone.

If you’re traveling on a budget, you’ll find plenty of affordable motels, backpacker hostels, and budget-friendly accommodations in convenient locations throughout the city.

Many accommodations in New Plymouth offer easy access to the city’s attractions, including Pukekura Park, the Coastal Walkway, and the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. Whether you’re visiting for business or leisure, you’re sure to find the perfect place to stay in New Plymouth.


Explore Mount Taranaki. The majestic volcanic peak offers numerous hiking trails. The North Egmont Visitor Centre provides access to trails like the Summit Track and offers spectacular views of the surrounding area.

Visit Pukekura Park. Located in New Plymouth, this 52-hectare park features lakes, walking trails, gardens, and playgrounds. It hosts the TSB Festival of Lights in summer and various events at the Bowl of Brooklands.

Discover Puke Ariki. This combined museum, library, and visitor information centre in New Plymouth showcases Taranaki’s history and culture. Highlights include geological exhibits and stories from the region’s Māori and pioneering past.

Admire Art at the Len Lye Centre. Part of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, this centre is dedicated to the works of kinetic sculptor and filmmaker Len Lye. The building itself is an architectural marvel, and the exhibitions change regularly.

Drive Surf Highway 45. This scenic coastal route is perfect for surfers and non-surfers alike, offering access to excellent surf spots, charming towns, galleries, and cafés.

Hike the Pouākai Crossing. This one-day trek in Egmont National Park is one of New Zealand’s best walks, featuring diverse landscapes, lush forests, and stunning views of Mount Taranaki.

Explore the Sugar Loaf Islands. Just off the coast of New Plymouth, these islands are ideal for kayaking, snorkeling, and exploring the rich marine life and geological formations.

Enjoy Pukeiti Gardens. These gardens on the lower slopes of Mount Taranaki feature over 10,000 rhododendrons and azaleas, forest trails, and a visitor center with a café​.


Brooklands Zoo, New Plymouth. See monkeys, otters, birds, meerkats, farm animals and more.

Pukekura Park, New Plymouth. Feed the ducks, play in the playground, explore the numerous trails, or visit the serene Fernery.

Gairloch Shipwreck, Oakura. Get up close to the fascinating remains of the SS Gairloch Shipwreck, a piece of maritime history.

Kawaroa Park and Playground, New Plymouth. Zoom down the hillside slides with a thrilling view that makes it feel like you’re about to plunge into the ocean.

Victoria Park and Stratford Children’s Bike Park, Stratford. Spend a fun-filled day at Victoria Park Playground and the nearby Stratford Children’s Bike Park. Located in Victoria Park, behind the playground, this park features a children’s cycle track for kids to learn and build bicycle confidence, a pump track, a half basketball court, and a BBQ pavilion.

Taranaki Cycle Park, New Plymouth. Rent some bikes and head out to Bell Block for an adventurous ride. The park features a 1.75 km closed road circuit with two smaller 1 km loops and a 333 m velodrome. The park also includes a learners’ pad, pump track, obstacle course, and a mini road circuit complete with traffic lights and road signs for younger riders.

New Plymouth Coastal Walkway. The award-winning Coastal Walkway is a stunning sea-edge promenade that spans nearly the entire length of New Plymouth. Perfect for walking, running, cycling, skating, or simply taking in the breathtaking views of the dramatic west coast, the walkway caters to all ages and abilities. Along the path, you’ll encounter iconic bridges, sculptures, stone art, children’s playgrounds, historic sites, and impressive surf beaches. The Coastal Walkway is an essential experience for anyone visiting New Plymouth.

Taranaki Festivals

Taranaki hosts several festivals throughout the year, celebrating its rich cultural heritage, artistic talent, and natural beauty. Some notable ones are:

Taranaki Arts Festival. This festival showcases a diverse range of performing arts, including theater, dance, music, and visual arts. It typically takes place annually, featuring both local and international artists.

Festival of Lights. Held in New Plymouth’s Pukekura Park during the summer holiday season, this festival transforms the park into a magical wonderland with dazzling light displays, live music, and entertainment for the whole family.

Womad New Zealand. The World of Music, Arts and Dance (Womad) festival is an internationally renowned event celebrating global music, arts, and culture. Taranaki hosts a New Zealand edition of Womad, featuring performances by artists from around the world.

Taranaki Garden Festival. Green-thumbed enthusiasts flock to Taranaki during this festival to explore the region’s stunning gardens, from private estates to public parks. Visitors can enjoy garden tours, workshops, and activities celebrating horticulture and landscaping.

Taranaki Arts Trail. Art lovers can embark on a journey through Taranaki’s vibrant arts scene during this annual event. The Arts Trail showcases the work of local artists across various mediums, from painting and sculpture to ceramics and jewellery.

Taranaki International Festival of the Arts. This multi-disciplinary arts festival brings together local, national, and international talent for a showcase of theatre, dance, music, visual arts, and more.

Stratford is located 33 min (39.5 km) via State Hwy 3 from New Plymouth.

By Air

  • Auckland to New Plymouth – 50 min
  • Wellington to New Plymouth – 50 min
  • Christchurch to New Plymouth – 90 min

Approximate flight times

By Road

  • Auckland to New Plymouth: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Hamilton to New Plymouth: 3 hours
  • Palmerston North to New Plymouth: 3 hours
  • Rotorua / Taupō to New Plymouth: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Tauranga to New Plymouth: 4 hours
  • Wellington to New Plymouth: 4 hours 45 minutes

Approximate driving times

Plan your trip to Taranaki.

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