Our original plan for visiting the New Plymouth area was to explore Mount Taranaki, but we really enjoyed this area much more than we realized we would and (due to weather) ended up seeing far more of it than we realized!
Staying at Oakura Beach
Although the New Plymouth area has a lot to offer, we still weren’t too keen to stay in a busy city. Luckily, the Oakura Beach Holiday Park is about 15 minutes away and offers scenic views and relaxed vibes without having to be too far away.
We loved staying at one of the cabins here and getting to walk along the black sand beach. While it was often windy during our stay, it didn’t stop the surfers and – especially windsurfers – from putting on a show!
There’s even a fantastic pizza place (Black Sand Pizzeria) walking distance that serves up fantastic food on the weekends. They do authentic Napoli-style pizza – the best pizza we’ve had in New Zealand, hands down! A can’t miss.
New Plymouth Coastal Walkway
We lucked out with a sunny day on the New Plymouth side of the mountain and headed straight to the iconic coastal walkway. We’ve gone on our fair share of city trails, but this was spectacularly well done. The walkway winds along the entire coast of the city for 13.2 kilometers. You can bike along it or walk it all at once or in sections, like we did.
The trail begins at Port Taranaki and ends at Bell Block Beach. We decided to park near the aquatic center since there was free parking and it allowed us to see some of the most interesting parts of the walkway – like the ‘wind wand’ art installation that waves around to mimic the weather. We also really enjoyed popping down to a few of the beaches and also admiring the big waves along the way. There was even a cute little coffee and goodies stand with outdoor seating. Such a great idea!
At the further end of the trail is the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge. This is one of the most photographed areas of New Plymouth when it is a clear day and the curved architecture perfectly frames Mount Taranaki.
There are great beaches and opportunities to enjoy birdlife at this end of the trail also!
Pukeiti Botanic Garden
Out of all the places we visited in the New Plymouth area, Pukeiti was the biggest surprise. We thought it would just be a small botanic garden to stroll through, but it was a place to spend hours enjoying nature and solitude.
We absolutely loved it and were really impressed by how much they had to offer. It’s definitely worth venturing up the winding road to get there!
Unfortunately, a visit to Mount Taranaki is quite weather dependent. We had hoped to do a lot more hiking in this area, but were still excited to get to spend one afternoon out on the trails between the gloomy weather.
The Wilkies Pools hike and Dawson Falls were fantastic. We’d love to see more of this area or even hike to the top of the mount if the weather allowed!
We’re so happy we decided to spend a few days in this lovely area of New Zealand and highly recommend it!