Taranaki – like no other

mounttaranakiIf you’re dreaming of an adrenaline-fuelled, action-packed fun holiday away from the city bustle but don’t fancy a long trip to some of New Zealand’s more recognised adventure spots, there’s a region right under your nose that’s not only ‘just far enough away’ but surprising as well.

Boasting a snow-topped mountain, pounding surf coastline, pristine rivers and tranquil marine reserve, Taranaki is an action utopia.  Try a spot of bridge-swinging, for instance, or plummet headfirst down an 8m river rapid whilst clinging to a tiny raft.  

Mountain bike down Mt Taranaki’s slopes, scuba-diving close to the world’s northern-most seal colony, trek along an elevated mountain trail once trodden by Maori warriors centuries ago, yell ‘yahoooo’ from the top of the 1.75 million-year-old 152m Paritutu Rock at New Plymouth’s historic deepwater harbour, meander the dramatic towering white-face cliffs at mystical Pukearuhe overlooking the Tasman Sea, or trace the six-toed foot of a Maori figure etched into rockwalls by an ancient artist several hundred years ago. 

Charter a helicopter flight and buzz over dramatic Jurassic Falls, long-abandoned outback homesteads and hunting grounds packed with prey. Take a tour of Hawera’s history-rich watertower, drive the Forgotten Highway to character-filled pioneer town Whangamomona for a pie and a beer, or brave the breakers at Stent Rd or the Kumara Patch for a spot of tandem surfing.  You could hire a launch for a spot of deep-sea fishing, kayak around the Sugar Loafs, visit the North Egmont Visitors Centre or relax in alpine splendour at several mountain lodges.

maoriwarrior For something completely different, what about a bike ride or powerwalk along New Plymouth’s 7km coastal walkway, a tour of Mt Taranaki learning about Maori legends, a visit to a working certified organic brewery, or a trek around the Elvis Presley Memorial Record Room in Hawera. 

If traditional exercise is what you want, there’s always skiing.  Manganui Skifield, approximately 20km from Stratford and a 20-minute walk from the plateau carpark, has a t-bar for access to gentle beginner’s and intermediate slopes, but more than 65% of the terrain is classified for advanced skiers from June to October.

If you want really remote adventures based in a 30,000ha virgin native bush area, try the Makakaho Valley inland from Waitototara in South Taranaki.  Jet boating, hunting, four-wheel driving, scenic flights, native bush walks and accommodation are available to provide you with the experience of a lifetime.

An emerging player in the tourism market and a treasure trove for all to enjoy, Taranaki is indeed like no other.

horseridingWant to learn more about the Taranaki region?  Visit www.taranaki.info

Images provided by Venture Taranaki