New Plymouth is located halfway between Auckland and Wellington with approximately a 4.5-hour drive from either cities or an hour by flight. With a population of 86,000, New Plymouth is named after the English city of Plymouth in Devon as it is here that the first English settlers migrated from and is known for its coastal walkway stretching from Bell Block to Port Taranaki. It is also New Zealand’s ‘oil town’, with offshore rigs extracting natural gas and oil.
The city of New Plymouth is known for its sunny climate, art galleries and beautiful parks. Enjoy the coastal walkway, a 12.7km walkway hugging the sea-edge along the city, punctuated with iconic landmarks like the Wind Wand and Te Rewa Rewa bridge - designed to look like a breaking wave or whale skeleton. It also perfectly frames the towering cone of Mt Taranaki in the background. This walk takes approximately 2.5-hours is also an ideal bike track passing inland lagoons, beaches, parks, an inner-city surf beach and the city’s promenade.
The conical shape of Mount Taranaki provides a dramatic backdrop to the city, a constant reminder that the hiking trails of Egmont National Park are just a short drive away. Egmont National Park has more than 300 kilometres of walking tracks - from short, scenic, 15-minute loops to the three-day 25 kilometre Pouakai Circuit. The day version of the walk, known as the Pouakai Crossing, is considered one of the best walks in the country, even being compared to the Tongariro Crossing - just without the crowds. During the summer months, you can even walk to the summit - it's an eight-to-ten-hour trek that is recommended for experienced trampers only.
Visit the Len Lye Centre at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand’s first museum dedicated to a single artist. Len Lye was a pioneering filmmaker and artist - particularly interested in kinetic, or moving, sculptures. The Len Lye building was designed to challenge the eye; depending on your angle, the reflection constantly moves - just like his art. Inside is a bold contrast; the waves lose their reflection and become imposing concrete pillars.
Enjoy world class art, culture and cuisine from relaxed lunch spots to luxe dining experiences and bustling eateries in a seaside setting, with a backdrop of mountain views. And if you want to discover one of New Zealand's best boutique gins, visit the Begin Distillery to sample the boutique London-style gin, using ingredients grown and sourced in Taranaki and throughout New Zealand.
Visit in late winter, if you want to see Mount Taranaki snow-capped or if f you plan to spend lots of time at the beach or do a long hike, summer would be more ideal.
New Plymouth offers a wealth of wonderful sights and experiences. What better way to explore them than on a Wendy Wu tour?
We all enjoy a good fact or two - here are a few useful ones about New Plymouth:
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