Flights to New Plymouth, Taranaki
Where to go and what to see in Taranaki
The Taranaki region, with New Plymouth as its main city, is an inspired holiday destination for those who love surf, art, music events and outdoor adventure. Overlooking everything is Mount Taranaki, a giant stratovolcano that's quietly sleeping beneath its snowy blanket. Spend time here and you'll quickly discover why Lonely Planet judged Taranaki the world's number two region to visit in its Best in Travel 2017 yearbook.
Choose a hike on Mount Taranaki
Wherever you go in Taranaki, you can feel the mountain watching, so give in to its magnetism and explore the Taranaki/Egmont National Park. There are easy half-hour tracks and there are epic adventures - like the Pouakai Circuit, which is a three-day loop route, or the shorter Pouakai Crossing, a half-full day journey to the famous Pouakai Tarns and the Instagram worthy image of Mt Taranaki reflected in the waters of the small tarn. If you decide to hike to the summit of Mount Taranaki, go in summer with an experienced guide - the mountain's weather can change quickly.
Many of the trails start near the North Egmont Visitor Centre at the top of Egmont Road. Here you can get expert advice on the best trail for the walk you have in mind. Local companies offer a wide range of safe and informative guided hiking tours, including transport to and from the mountain.
Surf, swim and soak up the sun
Fitzroy Beach, right in New Plymouth city, has a great surf break for all levels of experience. If the swells are big however, it's best left to the experts. The local surf lifesaving club patrols the beach in summer; swimming between the flags will keep you safe. Long and wide, like most Taranaki beaches, Fitzroy is ideal for seaside walks or relaxing in the sun.
Oakura Beach, 15 minutes south of New Plymouth, is another local favourite - especially with families and beginner surfers. It's patrolled by surf lifesavers in summer and has handy food and drink options on the beachfront. Local surf schools provide lessons and coaching at all levels, along with all the gear you'll need.
Taranaki's Surf Highway 45 runs south between New Plymouth to Hawera past 105km of beautiful black-sand beaches. They feature surf breaks ranging from perfect for beginners to deeply satisfying for seasoned experts. The highway is also a top driving route for scenery, serenity and excellent local food.
Enjoy art, food and festivals
New Plymouth is an arty city, so make sure you visit the Govett Brewster Art Gallery and the Len Lye Centre - New Zealand's only true museum of contemporary art. The Centre celebrates Len Lye, who pioneered kinetic sculpture and filmmaking in the 20th century. His iconic work is also found beyond the gallery walls, with the 48-metre high Wind Wand, that can be seen swooping and swaying in the breeze as you stroll along New Plymouth's coastal walkway.
Best time to visit Taranaki
Taranaki is among the sunniest places in New Zealand. Average daily highs range from 21°C in summer to 13°C in winter, with average daily lows about eight degrees less throughout the year. Monthly rainfall is reasonably even, with June being the wettest and January the driest month. The long New Zealand summer holiday season, from December to February, is the busiest time.
How much will it cost?
This will depend on your tastes and what you want to do. As a rough guide, not including air travel and hotels, you should allow about NZD $150 to $200 a day per person for food and entertainment.
There are no mandatory vaccinations required for visitors to New Zealand.
Auckland (AKL) to New Plymouth (NPL)
Wellington (WLG) to New Plymouth (NPL)
Christchurch (CHC) to New Plymouth (NPL)
*Flight times are based on the fastest route available.
**Indirect flights may also be available for this route.