Experience nature’s breath-taking playground, sun-drenched beaches and world class surf breaks, the majestic Taranaki Maunga and an epic line-up of summer events and festivals.
Taranaki is the place to be this summer, here are our top 10 must-do activities for your summer visit.
1. Taranaki Maunga and Pouākai Tarn
With more than 200km of walking tracks to explore ranging from accessible family-friendly trails that lead through enchanting forests and picturesque alpine landscapes, to more challenging hikes. Taranaki Maunga has a walk for everyone.
No summer is complete without a walk up to the Pouākai Tarn, offering that Instagram-worthy shot of the maunga perfectly reflected in the tarn, with expansive views all the way down to the coast. Find more trail information here to plan your walk.
2. Tour Surf Highway 45
Drive the Surf Highway 45, a surfer’s paradise, dotted with world-class surf breaks, historic points of interest, sheltered swimming beaches, and creative coastal communities.
Stop at the Cape Egmont Lighthouse and SS Gairloch shipwreck, or meander the Ōpunake Loop Trail to discover a secret garden and artsy mosaic couch. Race down the sand dunes of Back Beach, or cool off at one of the many sheltered swimming beaches. You can easily fill your summer days exploring this 105km coastal route that stretches from New Plymouth all the way to Hāwera in the South.
3. Take a wildlife tour on Chaddy’s Charters
Taranaki has no shortage of activities for all ages to enjoy. Head out on a thrilling wildlife boat adventure around the culturally significant Sugar Loaf Islands, get up close to seals and amazing birdlife. The fun continues with stand-up paddle boards and bikes available to hire.
4. Parks and garden walks
Enjoy the summer blooms at one of our world-class gardens. Relax and reset at Pukeiti with lush native rainforest, giant rhododendrons, and a kids’ treehouse trail, or enjoy the pristine landscaped gardens and Arts and Crafts style architecture at Tūpare. Te Po Po Garden is a hidden gem with 13 hectares of beautiful park and woodland, including a magical fairy garden for the kids to enjoy.
5. Visit Tawhiti Museum
History comes to life in incredible detail at Tawhiti Museum, with life-size exhibits and scale models capturing the past in incredible details. Take an exhilarating underground canal boat ride on Traders & Whalers or hop on the Tawhiti Bush Railway to uncover a dramatic historical presentation of the logging railways in Taranaki.
6. The Hideaway
Get stuck into some friendly competition at The Hillsborough Hideaway, featuring an 18-hole mini golf course based on the famous Mount Panorama track at Bathurst. Then get your adrenilin fix by taking on the 240m downhill luge at the Hideaway Luge.
Explore The Hideaway’s famed Hillsborough Holden Museum, a private collection of Australian Holden cars and memorabilia.
Once you’re done, refuel at the Hideaway Café – a fully licenced café with homemade meals, tasty treats and a large outdoor deck to catch those summer rays.
7. Get a Taste of Taranaki
Indulge your taste buds with summer delights at the many vibrant cafes, restaurants and bars found around Taranaki. After a day at the beach, stop at Iona Dairy, a local secret for the biggest ice-creams in town. Looking for something special? Head to Little Liberty Creamery in Inglewood for a gourmet ice-cream treat.
8. Cruise the Coastal Walkway
Take in expansive sea-views, sculptures and stone art, sandy beaches, and children’s playgrounds along the award-winning Coastal Walkway. Ideal for walking, running, cycling, skating, or simply enjoying the view of the dramatic west coast, the walkway is perfect for all ages and abilities.
There is so much to see and do along the walkway, from Len Lye’s iconic 45-metre Wind Wand, to the stunning Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, and Kawaroa Park with its epic kids' playground and the Todd Energy Aquatic Centre.
9. Pick up a local keepsake
If a spot of retail therapy is what you need, pick up a unique keepsake at one of the many vibrant boutiques including, Kina NZ Design + Art Space, Home Love & Mette K, Fenton St Arts Collective, Gallery Pātea, Bianca Lorenne, and Percy’s Place. Check out the vibrant Seaside Markets at Ngāmotu Beach, or find a tasty gift at Egmont Honey or Juno Gin.
10. Immerse yourself in summer events and festivals
Don’t miss the return of the TSB Festival of Lights (16 Dec – 21 Jan), strap on your dancing shoes for one of the epic concerts coming to the Bowl of Brooklands including Rock the Bowl (29 Dec) and Dire Straits Legacy (3 Jan), enjoy an epic night of 90’s nostalgia at Matchbox Twenty and Goo Goo Dolls (2 March). Enjoy classic American car culture and vibrant street displays at Americarna (21 – 24 Feb), test your endurance at the Oxfam Trailwalker for its final ever trek (23 – 24 March), and WOMAD returns with 3-days of kaleidoscopic music, arts, dance, and good vibes from 15 - 17 March. Plenty of fun awaits in Stratford, with the free Summer Nights Movies returning to King Edward Park (27 Jan) and Summer Nights Concerts featuring local Taranaki talent that will get you grooving (10 Feb).
Taranaki is set to light up with a vibrant line-up of unforgettable events this summer, check out our full calendar and start planning your trip to experience a Taranaki summer holiday, like no other.