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Your guide to Taranaki
All About Taranaki
Stretched along the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island, Taranaki is renowned for its rugged landscapes, black sand beaches, and its biggest landmark, towering Mount Taranaki volcano, also known as Mount Egmont. The region sits halfway between Wellington and Auckland and is home to a dozen world-class surf breaks, hundreds of hiking and biking routes, raging rivers perfect for rafting, and in the colder months, slopes for skiing and snowboarding. One of its biggest draws, Egmont National Park boasts 300 hiking trails, ranging from gentle walks to multi-day journeys through challenging terrain.
Taranaki also claims a lively cultural scene: You’ll discover countless museums, galleries, and historic sites, especially in New Plymouth, Taranaki’s capital. Other highlights around the region include Pukeiti Gardens, famous for its rhododendrons, and the Cape Egmont lighthouse, one of the last working lighthouses in New Zealand.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Taranaki?
When it comes to booking Taranaki accommodation, the most popular time to visit is typically summer, from December through February. The weather is fairly warm, rainfall is at its lowest, and the conditions are generally best for hiking and visiting the beaches. During spring, September through November, Mount Taranaki is still covered in a layer of snow. But the waterfalls and rivers in Egmont National Park are at their fullest, and the hills come alive with blooming wildflowers.
Autumn is from March through May, when it starts to get cold. If you’re heading to Taranaki, you’ll need thick layers in the evening. The scenery at this time of year can be magnificent, with the countryside developing rust-colored hues. The winters from June through August get very cold, and June is typically the wettest month. However, this is the best time to visit if you’re hoping to ski or snowboard.
What are the top things to do in Taranaki?
Located in New Plymouth, Puke Ariki is an innovative gallery, museum, and library spread over two buildings joined by an airbridge. There are five gallery spaces where you can learn all about the history, nature, and people of Taranaki — from 30 million years ago until today. Take a guided tour or go on a fun scavenger hunt for families.
North Egmont National Park
The North Egmont National Park is home to Mount Taranaki and a wide range of hikes, including the Pouakai Circuit three-day loop. It’s possible to make your way to the summit of the volcano with an experienced guide. The North Egmont Visitor Centre offers information about the park and its walks.
Taranaki is renowned for its beaches. Located in New Plymouth, Fitzroy Beach is a popular surfing spot that’s patrolled during summer and is a great place to lay back and soak up the sun. If you’d like to venture a little farther afield, you can head down Taranaki's Surf Highway 45, which runs from New Plymouth to Hāwera past a series of black-sand surf beaches.