New Zealand, Road Trips

It’s Summer – Let’s go for a Roadie to Taranaki

January requires a more concentrated organisation if we are to celebrate our birthdays in style.

This year was to be no exception with a smidgen of luxury and not a tent in sight.

Though it would not involve an overseas destination.

It would involve a slice of New Zealand paradise.

Our Country.

Our Tลซrangawaewae – Our place to stand.

More specifically New Plymouth situated on the west coast of the North Island.

Here are a few Snippets about Taranaki

Taranaki Dawson Falls small_edited

Taranaki was named after Mt Taranaki, the 2,518m stratovolcano that dominates the region, nestled quietly away on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Approximately 4 hours drive from Tauranga, give or take a few moments for coffee stops.

The mountain is the North Islands second highest mountain, standing enormous and proud. Defying anyone to knock him off the worlds second-best region in the world to visit title. Mt Taranaki has erupted 160 times in the past 36,000 years. The last major eruption was in 1954.

A rich Maori history. Especially Parihaka, a community located between Mount Taranaki and the Tasman Sea.

In the 1870s and 1880s the Parihaka settlement, then reputed to be the largest Mฤori village in New Zealand, became the centre of a major campaign of non-violent resistance to European occupation of confiscated land in the area. Armed soldiers were sent in and arrested the peaceful resistance leaders and many of the Maori residents, often holding them in jail for months without trials.

Why head to Taranaki and specifically New Plymouth?

Len Lye Centre sunset_edited
The Lye Centre – More on this Art Gallery at a later stage

Unassuming. Underrated. New Zealand.

That’s it.

That’s why Taranaki has been voted the second-best region in the world to visit.

For that very reason.

It is unassuming. Certainly, underrated. To understand this, you’d have to visit for yourself. We re-visited and re-realised it’s uniqueness.

Festival of lights 3_edited

The beautiful Pukekura Park, with its ornate red bridge and yearly Festival of Lights.

The red bridge in the park_edited
The Coastal Walk New Plymouth_edited

The inviting coastal walk with creative outdoor art, the red wind wand above and below the Firkee-Wala.  All just a few metres from the city centre.

'Firkee-Wala' - Sea Front Art lge_edited

The art galleries, the seafront art, the cafe scene, a historical park, the coastal walks, the WOMAD concert and well just it’s unassuming “kiwiness with a touch of worldness”. It’s the laidback atmosphere that makes this place a winner to enjoy a long weekend. Especially as you get to take a detour from New Zealand’s well-trodden tourist route.

What you don’t come for in general is the weather. Being on the west coast, the beaches can be wild. Luckily for us, we were caressed by warm sea breezes and not a wild west coast wind.

Our Connection

Les's Mum on her Dad's motorbike

Taranaki is a special place, for both of us, with many personal stories attached to it. One such link is this is the birthplace of the Squire’s Mum [Joan]. As we travelled along the winding and picturesque road, had us thinking of Joan and the sharing of stories began. One story we discussed was as a young woman, she would often be a pillion passenger on her father’s motorbike. Even involving a long trip to the Bay of Plenty. There wouldn’t have been many if any roads without gravel. Rough as guts those roads would have been. It never ceases to amaze us how hard that journey must have been as well as been an adventure for her.

For myself, my ancestors on my father’s side first set foot in New Zealand by a passenger ship back in the approximately mid-1800s. That too would have been an arduous trip on various levels. We learnt more of this journey via being part of a huge family reunion back in the 1980s.

Then here we are carrying on that tradition of travelling those roads. Though a shorter distance and with far more comfort. Some folk shudder at the travelling hours required to go from home to the “Naki”.  Well, us two, we embrace both the milage and the views. It means an adventure, some more interesting than others.

This trip and others to follow. I was driving.  The reason I found myself at the wheel so that the Squire had an opportunity to enjoy our countryside. For years, he has taken on the role of driving ‘Mrs V’.  As with most things involving travel, patience is required on both sides, Luckily, most advice like driving tips was taken on board with good humour.

All in all, roadies are a great form of entertainment for more than one reason.

71 thoughts on “It’s Summer – Let’s go for a Roadie to Taranaki”

  1. What a delightful place, Suzanne. And like others before me, I’m so sad that I missed it when I was there. My husband, James was recovering from Dengue Fever when we were there, and we didn’t get to see as much as we had hoped. But now we have the perfect inspiration to return. My favorite part was learning about your personal connection to the place – that makes it even more special. Thanks again for sharing this lovely place with all of us. ~Terri

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a pity you didn’t manage to explore as much as you would’ve liked. It happens when you travel. Though it is good to have less travel and for us all to enjoy our own backyards.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. So pleased you enjoyed the roadtrip I was driving slowly so the passengers could see the countryside ๐Ÿ™‚ A bit slow in commenting as I missed a few in my enthusiasm to answer everyone!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Taranaki is a beautiful area, Suzanne and we visited several years ago. I worked with a girl who had moved over from NZ and her family was one of the early settlers there. Thanks for sharing such beautiful photos as usual – NZ is always postcard material isn’t it? Happy belated birthday to you both and thanks for sharing at #MLSTL. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes, Sue.

      It is beautiful on a good day. We seem to be having extreme weather just like Australia, with flooding and low temps down south and high temps with no rain up north.
      Us humans are never happy with the weather. So, not all areas at the moment are postcard material ๐Ÿ™‚ x


  3. Hi Suzanne, I think NZ is a beautiful gem of a country. It’s definitely on our travel bucket list and we’ll be getting there sometime in the years ahead. I’d like to do a nice long visit, rather than just taking in the tourist traps. You’ve made it sound even more wonderful from a “native’s” perspective and your photos are lovely.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Leanne,
      “Natives” know best ๐Ÿ™‚ Some tourist traps are worth going too though to get a flavour of the “real” NZ then getting off the tourist trail is the way to go.


    1. Well, it is off the main highway and usually most people including yourself are on a mission to somewhere else. A bit like the East Coast, both require more time to explore then head further down the line.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve never really ambled around the north island…well, bits and pieces have been ambled but largely it’s been detours in and out of Wellington or in and out of the Coromandel/Bay of Plenty. I’ve ambled lots in the south but not the north…another thing for the list!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. A bit late with my reply! Well, I think the South has the most picturesque scenery as in majestic mountain vistas. The North has better weather and beautiful beaches, farmland and both Islands have amazing walks. The list is never ending isn’t it?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. It sure is never ending… I’m back in Queenstown at the end of March & then Wellywood again in September – for WOW. It’s been a few years since I last went to WOW so should be good…

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I love Queenstown – mainly because I like doing the walks etc around there. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been though. This time I’m taking Sarah (my daughter) as we both have birthdays around that time – we’re planning to do a taster of the Routeburn track (I did the whole thing back in 2014). At one point I was going over for WOW every year, but then I stopped for a few years – my bestie is in Welly & she does it every year. It’s well worth going to…

              Liked by 1 person

  4. I was in New Plymouth 2 years ago and visited Taranaki. We had a guide to show us around the mountain and tracks although not to the top, it was fantastic. Very interesting and very beautiful. Your photos are exquisite

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Another beautiful slice of your beautiful country, Suzanne! Thank you for taking us.There is always a punch in my stomach and a tear in my eye of longing whenever I see posts from NZ.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Leya, and I am very pleased you enjoy coming across posts about NZ even if it does make you a bit emotional. I am like that with a few countries though at the moment quite happy to be here.


    1. Thanks very much. We are fortunate to live in NZ. It will soon be spring your way and we will be heading towards autumn. After our hot summer I think I’ll be looking forward to cooler weather.


  6. Most of the photos I’ve seen of your islands indicate that they are beautiful, Suzanne, but it’s a long and expensive trip for us. I suspect I’ll always have to see them through someone else’s lens. Thank you for sharing them so beautifully. I love how proud you are of them. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jo, your lovely comments are always appreciated.
      Sometimes being an armchair traveller is the only option we have in various parts of our life. Lets face it we can’t see every place in the world unless we have an endless pot of gold and more time than the average person ๐Ÿ™‚ .

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What an extraordinary place. Underrated indeed. So much beauty to experience. NZ in general is on my bucket list (canโ€™t believe I havenโ€™t been and itโ€™s so close). Thanks for adding another dimension to this beautiful country.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow – 1800’s That is very early! How wonderful that you have discovered that connection? I am actually set on visiting New Plymouth next time I am in NZ, after reading this post. I am in awe of that perfect mountain. I think only Mt Fuji can surpass it for symmetry. Was the 1954 eruption a large one?

    Liked by 2 people

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