New Plymouth may be a bit off the beaten path, but if you love nature, this is the place to see her in all her glory.
Of course, Mt.Taranaki is in this area. This beautiful and majestic mountain was used as a stand-in for Mt. Fuji in the Tom Cruise movie The Last Samurai. It's hard not to get a fantastic photo with her in the background unless it's a cloudy day.
Pukekura Park is your number one destination in New Plymouth.
These tranquil gardens will take you around the lake and through the bush, or you can visit a small zoo or catch a concert.
With 52ha (128 acres), you can explore Pukekura Park by walking on well-maintained trails that take you around the lake, through the bush, over bridges and through Fernery and Display houses.
I used the car park behind the Teahouse and started my ramble from there, but you could easily walk from the city centre.
On a clear day, you might be lucky enough to see Mt Taranaki as you look across the lake to Poet's Bridge from the Teahouse. I wasn't so lucky with it being a cloudy day.
Features in the parkland included Poet's Bridge, the Mishima Torii Gate, the Chinese Gardens and the tiered waterfall, plus so much more, including nature itself.
Check out what's on at the TSB Bowl of Broadlands when you're in New Plymouth here. Over the summer, you may even be lucky enough to catch an international act.
If you're after something more soothing, the Festival of Lights may be for you. I just missed seeing this, but you might be luckier if you're in New Plymouth over December/January.
Lights are switched on from 8.30 pm until 11 pm, giving you plenty of time to wander around the parklands and take it all in.
From 23-26 June 2022, the first-ever winter pop-up is on. They showcase installations in the CBD and along the coastal walkway, and if you'd like to see more on the lights, click here.
The gates to the main entrance of Pukekura Park and the car park off Fillis Street are open during the below hours.
Summer: 6 am-8.30 pm (or at the conclusion of any park bookings)
Winter: 6 am-6 pm (or at the conclusion of any park bookings)
The Fernery and Display Houses are open daily from 8.30 am-4 pm except on Christmas day.
The Tea House on the Lake is open from 9 am - 4 pm (hours may differ on Public Holidays - follow this link to Facebook for more information).
Broadlands Zoo is very small. As it is in a U-shape, I can see all sides if I stand in the middle.
Birds, farmyard animals, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals like Meerkats, Otter, Monkeys, Red-rumped Agouti and Capybara call this place home.
Zookeepers give talks twice a day on weekends and during school holidays.
It's a delightful little zoo that will keep the kids entertained for hours.
9.30 am - 4 pm Daily. Check their website for any changes.
The Coastal Walkway is a 13.2km walk that will take you from Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, past swimming beaches, farmland and along the coastline to New Plymouth city centre.
As you stroll along the walkway, you will find sculptures dotted along the path giving you plenty of photo opportunities.
A great way to end a day is making your way to the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge for sunset.
The bridge was opened on 5 June 2010, and it has been a must-see ever since, especially at sunset. In its first month, it was used by 55,756 pedestrians and cyclists.
This is one of the best places to see Mt. Taranaki as well when she isn't covered by clouds.
It was made with a spiritual connection to the sacred mountain, Mt. Taranaki, and is in an area of high significance to the local Maori.
There is a car park nearby if you're not game to walk back into the city.
Pick your times well, as seeing Mt. Taranaki is a bit hit and miss with clouds being the issue.
Another great walk in New Plymouth is along the black sand beaches of Back Beach.
Here you can watch surfers catch waves while you have all this coastline to explore.
At the northern end of Back Beach, Mt. Puritutu is what's left of a volcano that was last active approximately 1.75 million years ago. It is free to enjoy, although you need a reasonable amount of fitness to walk up this 100m near vertical climb. If you make it to the top, I'm assured that the views are well worth the effort.
If you have missed seeing Mt. Taranaki, maybe this will be the spot, and you can't get a more picturesque photo stop than here.
Here you can do walks around the lake while taking your surroundings, the native bush and nature.
I hope you have some ideas for your trip to New Zealand. New Plymouth is a bit out of the way, but she is worth the detour.
I hope you'll be as impressed as I was.
Explore the outer coast of Pohatu Marine Reserve and marvel at its spectacular towering cliffs, rock stacks, reefs, and deep sea caves. Observe the diverse wildlife and marine species such as penguins, seals, various sea birds and possibly the world’s smallest dolphin!