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Taranaki Complete Guide

In our ‘Complete Guide’ series, we’re going to be visiting some of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations and getting the inside track from our GO Explore followers on the best places to stay, eat, drink, sunbathe and more. Instead of just finding out what the guidebooks tell you, find out what the locals and the travellers think when it comes to the best place to get an ice cream, the best fish and chips and the best cocktail you’ll ever taste!

The latest in our series of Complete Guides take us to the hidden treasure of Taranaki. Tucked away on the west coast of the central North Island, Taranaki is one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets. Lovingly referred to as ‘the ‘Naki’ by locals, this place is often overlooked by visitors planning their trip to New Zealand but those who do make the detour leave with some pretty special memories. Taranaki is home to arguably New Zealand’s most photogenic mountain – Mt Taranaki, with its perfect conical dome overlooking the whole region. It’s also the home to one of New Zealand’s most vibrant arts scene which comes as a rather pleasant surprise. Then there’s the surfing. Black sand beaches and a wild Tasman Sea make for some great surf conditions down in the ‘Naki. Let’s take a deeper look at the region and help you to plan your next trip. Let’s GO!

  • New Plymouth

    New Plymouth

    New Plymouth is an awesome place to base yourself for exploring the Taranaki region. The city is overlooked by the magnificent Mt Taranaki and is surrounded by lush farmland. The city has a world-class arts scene with two superb galleries as well

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    New Plymouth is an awesome place to base yourself for exploring the Taranaki region. The city is overlooked by the magnificent Mt Taranaki and is surrounded by lush farmland. The city has a world-class arts scene with two superb galleries as well as a growing café and restaurant scene. If you’re a fan of the outdoors, a trip to New Plymouth and the Taranaki region should be a must. With superb coastal walks, a one day tramp to rival any in New Zealand and some of the country’s finest surfing beaches, there’s a lot to love about New Plymouth.

  • Stratford

    Stratford

    Like most towns and cities in the Taranaki region, Stratford is dominated (in a good way) by the towering Mt Taranaki. Located at the base of the eastern slopes of the iconic mountain, Stratford is located about halfway between New Plymouth and Ha

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    Like most towns and cities in the Taranaki region, Stratford is dominated (in a good way) by the towering Mt Taranaki. Located at the base of the eastern slopes of the iconic mountain, Stratford is located about halfway between New Plymouth and Hawera and is a great place to stop over for a couple of days. Named after the birthplace of William Shakespeare, many of the streets and parks are dedicated to the writer’s plays and characters. The glockenspiel clock tower in the middle of the town performs excerpts from Romeo and Juliet throughout the day, adding to the charm of this quaint Taranaki town.

  • Hawera

    Hawera

    Hawera is the largest town in South Taranaki and like New Plymouth and Stratford, it has the ever-present Mt Taranaki looming over the town. Hawera takes its name from the Maori village of Te Hawera and literally means ‘the burnt place’ or ‘

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    Hawera is the largest town in South Taranaki and like New Plymouth and Stratford, it has the ever-present Mt Taranaki looming over the town. Hawera takes its name from the Maori village of Te Hawera and literally means ‘the burnt place’ or ‘breath of fire’. Following some extensive blazes in 1884, 1888 and 1912, a large water tower was constructed in the town which has become one of the most recognisable landmarks in the region. Hawera is the final stop at the end of Surf Highway 45 – a route from New Plymouth all the way around the coastline to Hawera and is a great place to stop on a road trip around the North Island.

If you are travelling the Surf Highway and fancy stopping off somewhere a bit different, Opunake is located just a short drive up the coast from Hawera. Home to one of New Zealand’s best surf beaches, this place is usually busy throughout the summer months as surfers, windsurfers and fishermen all head to the small town to try their hand.

Best accommodation in Taranaki

Once you have decided which town you are going to base yourself in, it’s time to choose some accommodation. Whether you are looking for five star luxury hotels or a remote campground, you’re well catered for in Taranaki. With so many options to choose from, we asked our GO Explore fans for some of their top tips and this is what they came back with:

Best places to eat out in Taranaki

The ‘Naki is developing a really thriving eating out scene which is mainly focussed around New Plymouth, however there are plenty of little gems hidden all across the region. We’ve picked out a few of our favourites – some have been sent in by our GO Explore fans and others we simply followed our noses! If you have a top tip for somewhere to eat out anywhere across the Taranaki region, we’d love to hear about it so we can add to our list!

Best sights in Taranaki

Taranaki is a great place to head if you love the outdoors. Whilst there are plenty of activities down in the ‘Naki, there’s also heaps of great things to see along the way. A drive along Surf Highway 45 will give you some breath-taking views of the rugged coastline whilst Mt Taranaki remains a constant on the skyline no matter where you are in the region. Here are some of the best sights to be found in Taranaki:

Best activities in Taranaki

The Bay of Plenty region is packed with great things to do, especially if you love the outdoors. From the amazing beaches to the fantastic walking tracks and relaxing hot pools – there’s something for everyone. Kiwis come here on holiday because there is so much to do and this is definitely a great place to visit during the summer months when the beaches are packed and there is a great atmosphere wherever you go. Here are some of the best activities to get involved with.

Trip Planner

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