Dominated by a snow capped volcano, New Plymouth is the hub of the Taranaki region and gateway to Mt Egmont National Park.
New Plymouth is on the western coast of New Zealand’s North Island, midway between Auckland and Wellington, and is built on the west coast’s only deep water port. It is the main centre for one of the country’s largest dairy farming areas. The area also has the country’s biggest reserves of oil and gas, and is home to the massive offshore Maui gas field in the south west of the region.
The city of New Plymouth has an impressive selection of parks and gardens and a variety of attractions such as an art gallery, museum and some historic buildings. The stunning Mt Taranaki dominates the horizon to the south of the city and its locality to the mountain makes the city the perfect base from which to explore Mt Egmont National Park. Originally named Mt Egmont by Captain Cook in 1770, the mountain is now usually referred to by its Maori name, Taranaki. At 2518 metres (8261 ft), the mountain is in fact a dormant volcano, which has fortunately not erupted for over two centuries. The film, The Last Samurai, was filmed extensively on the slopes of the mountain, and captures its similarity to Mt Fuji in Japan. There is a network of walking tracks and huts on and around the mountain, and interesting visitors centres at North Egmont and Dawson’s Falls.
A short 20 minute drive to the south of the city is the pretty town of Oakura. It has the regions best beach and a selection of art and craft shops and cafés. The beaches of the Surf Highway, which hugs the coastline to the south of the city, offer plenty of opportunities for windsurfing and surfing enthusiasts.