New Plymouth

Powered by New Zealand’s oil and diary industries, New Plymouth is often considered one of the best places to live in New Zealand. Wages are good, house prices aren’t overly silly compared with Auckland, and you’re never far away from a near empty beach or the Egmont National Park forty minutes drive away. There’s plenty to fill a few days exploring the place, starting with the waterfront, home to Len Lye’s 48m high kinetic sculpture Wind Wand.img_3354 img_3339

There are extensive footpaths along the waterfront, perfect for exploring by bike.img_3340 img_3351

For some of the best coastal views take a quick scramble up the rather steep (there are chains to help you) Paritutu Rock, with views over the port. I got to the top in time to see a huge rain front heading my way so didn’t spend long up there!dsc01316 dsc01330 dsc01331 dsc01332 dsc01345

Another time Paritutu Centennial Park provided the most wonderful views at sunset.img_3461 img_3472

There are also some good views from Marsland Hill and a bell tower.img_3369-view-from-marsland-hill img_3373

The Puke Ariki museum is home to an eclectic section of displays about the region, including the important diary industry, Maori history, and when I visited a few years ago a history of surfing!img_3357 img_3367 img_3366 img_3365 img_3335-puke-ariki

Pukekura Park is a rather lovely spot to wander around.img_3425 img_3434 img_3441

The Govett-Brewster art gallery is renowned as one of the best in the country, though it was closed last time I visited properly while they built the impressive Len Lye Centre extension, with it’s aptly reflective exterior.dsc00075 dsc00073

Across the road is the heritage clock tower, and the recently refurnished White Hart, home to a rather lovey atrium and cafe.dsc00095 dsc00085

Over the past few years there’s been some very cool street art added to the town centre.dsc00052 dsc00036 dsc00041

The Taranaki region gets a lot of rain but also a lot of sunshine, great for growing plants, handy for both diary and good gardens, both of which it is renowned for. Tupare Garden is a good example.img_3390 img_3381 img_3380

An hour’s drive south from New Plymouth is one of the best museums in New Zealand, the fascinating and extensive Tawhiti Museum in Hawera, well worth a few hours of your time.img_3510 img_3508 img_3513 img_3505

Finally it’s hard to avoid the 2,518m Mt Taranaki in the distance, best viewed from the two day Pouakai Circuit or one day Pouakai Crossing.dsc00300 dsc00380

You can also walk / scramble to the summit if you’re fit enough, it’s summery and the weather is good. It’s hard work but rewarding.dsc00501 dsc00507

 

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