Known for: Mountaineering Surf championships Spectacular alpine scenery Interesting geology Ruggard coast
Easter weekend sprung up fast. Once Thursday rolled around we realised we’d be saying ciao to the office for the next four days, and hello to more spontaneous adventures.
David & I packed his trusty station wagon and hit the road midday on Friday – meandering down to Taranaki, 5 hours from Auckland.
WHERE TO STAY
The drive into New Plymouth was breathtaking. Mountainous, lush and brooding. Total Lord Of The Rings vibe.
On the way we stopped at a beach where I had a bit of a casualty… Dark beach, sharp stick, foot, A & E.
The first night we didn’t need accommodation because we fell asleep in the waiting room of NP Hospital after watching three Shrek films and a Sinbad. However I wasn’t going to let that stop me from enjoying the weekend away, even if it meant hobbling around in one sneaker and one sandal with 5 pairs of socks on.
Night 2: We camped at the end of Weld Road in Oakura – highly recommend.
Night 3: 3 sisters beach.
WHAT TO DO
1. Climb Mt Egmont / Mt Taranaki.
Historically Maori people named the volcano Taranaki, until Captain Cook arrived and changed it to Mount Egmont after the Earl of Egmont.
The mountain is 2518m high, the second tallest in the North Island.
It can be a little precarious for beginner hikers, but I did it on an injured foot and returned to tell the tale. Just take extra caution in winter, ie. don’t be dumb.
And you don’t need to worry about it erupting either, the last time that happened was the mid 18th century.
2. Ride the waves at Oakura beach.
Many people asked if we were there for the surf championships, but no, we just look the part (if you can teach us to surf, call me).
3. Explore the glowworm caves.
I was shocked to learn that Waitomo asks tourists to fork out $90 per adult to see what we saw for free at Tongaporutu beach.
4. Read a book under a tree and slide down dunes at Paritutu Rock.
With a population of only 75k, you’re almost guaranteed a generous spot to yourself. Auckland has 1.3 million, and you’d be lucky if you got an A4 square on Mission Bay beach.
5. Take a beach walk at all times of the day at 3 sisters.
Travel tip: This beach is tidal, which makes it even cooler, but check times so you don’t get stranded.
6. While you’re there admire the great Elephant Rock.
7. And the eyeball rock.
8. And the interesting mountain rocks.
WHAT TO WEAR
As you’ll know I’m all about minimal packing. One dress, ready for anything “adventure clothes”, birks/roms, and old tees. Taranaki in Summer/Autumn is warm, but if you want to climb the mountain, bring sturdy walking shoes and thermals.
WHAT TO EAT
This weekend’s favourites were the vegan mushroom bolognaise with wholemeal pasta we made for dinner and Whittaker’s Hazelnut block. All hail the great Kiwi company that is Whittaker’s.
Travel tip: When travelling on a long weekend, take traffic into consideration. Families tend to muck around packing up / maximise their stay, so head off early to beat unbearable traffic queues.
Next looks like it might be Tongariro… if anyone has any advice, I’d love to hear from you!