Not too sure about the rest of you, but I am all about maximising my weekends during the summer months; when days are long, filled with sunshine and warm temperatures are almost guaranteed – It’s a great time for that spontaneous road trip, attending a festival (or two) or explore a hiking trail that’s waiting to be ticked off your checklist.
If you haven’t been to New Plymouth, it’s about high time you made this your next road trip destination; it’s a place that I find myself constantly going back to every summer, either to just have a staycation in town, to climb mountains, walk along its beautiful coast or all of the above.
Firstly, places with beautiful sunsets is a sure winner and the Taranaki region has by far the best sunsets I’ve seen in the country. I always cannot resist making a detour to capture these rays in photographs.
It’s a great place to be all year long, with beautiful terrain that’s brimming with nature and outdoor activities. And of course, there’s New Plymouth town that lies within the heart of this region, conveniently situated along the coastline.
I love spending the day going for a wander in town – There’s a hint of quirkiness to it, with the elaborate street art decorated on buildings and it’s impossible for anyone to miss the huge mirrored building that is the Len Lye Centre; a tourist destination for modern art enthusiasts.
If you’re hungry, head over next door to have a bite at Monica’s Eatery, or enjoy a hearty brunch at The Federal Store, a bustling eatery that’s fast becoming a favourite amongst the locals. Be sure to make a dinner reservation at The Social Kitchen, a great place for big groups who love their sharing platters.
Not too far from town centre is the Pukekura Park, a nature retreat within the city. I hear that the annual Festival Of Lights during summertime is worth checking out; it’s a shame we missed the recent one.
If you’re looking for some ocean views, head over to the Coastal Walkway for a walk or even just to enjoy a glass of wine from one of the many restaurants/bars there. If you’re keen to take a step further (literally), Paritutu Rock offers some great views when you’re up the top!
There’s plenty of motels in town centre, otherwise, there’s a good selection of holiday homes scattered on the outskirts; the bach we recently stayed at Fitzroy was a beautiful home with the beach almost at our front door.
What I mostly love about coming to New Plymouth is actually what lies beyond the city itself. If weather is in your favour, take a drive along the Surf Highway that’s lined with stunning black-sand beaches, a favourite place for picking up a surf.
For those who love tramping or would like to do a short hike, the Egmont National Park is a 30-minute drive away from town, the place where the famous Mount Taranaki stands.
To know more about the different routes you could take, the staff at the Visitor Centre would be more than happy to give their recommendations and to also provide live weather updates for hiking conditions.
Climbing up the Mount is the main reason people travel from far to the Taranaki region. Jeff and I did it last summer, and it was surreal to finally reach the summit. You can read about that adventure of ours here!
Another trail worth doing is the Pouakai Crossing, a 7-hour route that takes you on a winding journey through the national park. Even on a day of continuous rain and fog, I enjoyed the mysterious look of the mixed terrain of flatland and hills, although I didn’t particular appreciate having wet feet throughout, heh.
It just means we will be back on a better day to catch the reflection of the Mount next time!
Take the chance to use this itinerary if you haven’t been to New Plymouth. Let us know if you have other places to recommend, we’d be sure to go back in no time!