Mt Taranaki

Taranaki, on the North Island's west coast, juts into the Tasman Sea and is half way between Auckland and Wellington.

Mount Taranaki is ever-present in this region—a huge, dramatic volcanic cone with a snowy top. The mount is a spiritual and physical force in this region. It is the source of over 50 rivers and streams, the home of many botanically unique plants, and the subject of many stories and legends. On sighting the mountain in 1642, explorer Abel Tasman said it was "the noblest hill I've ever seen".

The area around the sunny city of New Plymouth is well-known for its black sand surfing beaches and glorious parks and gardens, particularly the dazzling array of rhododendrons and azaleas on display in spring. Many magnificent private gardens are open for public viewing year round.






Manawatu Gorge

The Manawatu region is a major agricultural power, leading in beef, sheep and deer production. Farmstays allow visitors to experience life on a New Zealand farm, not to mention some excellent country cooking. The Rangitikei river supports an excellent trout fishery.

To the south is the university city of Palmerston North, one of the country's largest provincial cities. The central business district of Palmerston North is centred on a large leafy square.

Many of Palmerston North's original stores built in the 1920's and 1930's have been restored and are now charming boutiques, cafes and great restaurants.