New Zealand wouldn’t be New Zealand without a lonely lighthouse surrounded by beautiful scenery. By day, the Cape Egmont Lighthouse visibly marks the western-most point of the Taranaki coast. By night, it flashes white light once every eight seconds, telling ships up to 22 nautical miles away exactly where they are. To find the lighthouse, which was automated in 1986, follow State Highway 45 to Pungarehu. Just south of town, turn right on Cape Road. Drive five kilometres to the lighthouse which is at the end of the road. The Lighthouse is not open to the public. There is a replica of the Lighthouse at the end of Bayly Road run by the Cape Egmont Boat Club – see Historic Cape Lighthouse & Museum.
Dam dropping is one of the hidden gems of adrenaline activities in New Zealand. You won’t hear the tourism operators raving about this locally invented activity like you would hear about skydiving and bungy jumping, however, taking a kayak or water sledge down the 8m (26ft)Normanby Dam is a much-loved Taranaki activity for both locals and travellers.
There is a veritable maze of tracks around the Dawson Falls area, including the walk to Wilkies Pools, a series of eroded rock pools connected with gentle waterfalls. From the visitor centre walk 400 m down Manaia Road to the sign to Dawson Falls. From here descend the short stepped track to join the Kapuni Loop Track and turn right to continue on either to the base of the falls or the lookout point.
Egmont National Park/Te Papakura o Taranaki is the most accessible National Park in New Zealand. It protects the huge volcano Taranaki Maunga (Mt Taranaki). The park has a huge variety of walks (Kamahi Track/Goblin Forest or the multi-day hike of the Pouakai Circuit) through varying alpine vegetation and forests. Venture over boarded wetlands trails with tarns reflecting magnificent views of Taranaki Maunga.
This collection of Elvis memorabilia, regarded as one of the most extensive in Australasia, contains thousands of rare and expensive recordings, souvenirs and memorabilia. The museum has featured in many magazines and on several different television shows. As this is a private collection, an appointment should be made to view the record room. Phone Kevin on 0274 982 or 06 278 7624.
There are two great courses in Hawera – the Hawera Golf Course just a few minutes from the motel on Fairfield Road or the picturesque Te Ngutu Golf Course on Katene Road in Normanby, just ten minutes north out of town. There are 20 golf clubs that await you in the Taranaki province, so golf visitors can play until their heart is content.
Another fabulous road trip in the Taranaki area awaits down the mysterious and isolated Forgotten World Highway. Follow New Zealand’s oldest heritage trail, this 155km (96-mile) road between Stratford and Taumarunui, with highlights like the Republic of Whangamomona, the stunning Tangarakau Gorge, rugged tunnels, waterfalls and much more.
Fun for all the family! The Aquatic Centre is open all year round and has a 25m indoor heated pool and a 50m outdoor heated pool (summer months only), plus indoor learner's pool, toddlers' splash park, thermal pool and hydro-slide.
Hawera's two main parks, King Edward Park and Naumai Park are well used and host many events during the year, including Arts in the Park and outdoor concerts.
The Hawera Park-To-Park walkway takes in beautiful King Edward Park with its manicured lawns, rose gardens, playgrounds and lake. The walk then leads you through the Hawera CBD to the secluded Naumai Park; a tranquil haven reknown for its native flora specimens. From end to end; the walk takes about half an hour, definitely worth your time to visit during a stay in Hawera.
The first thing to do when reaching the South Taranaki town of Hawera is to climb the iconic Hawera Water Tower to get your bearings and a great view over the land and sea. Pay a small fee to the local i-SITE, then climb up the spiral staircase with 215 steps to the top where you’ll get tremendous views of the town, the Tasman Sea and Mt Taranaki on a clear day.
Replica of the Cape Egmont Lighthouse, this little gem can be found at the Cape Egmont Boat Club, Bayly Road, Warea, just a few kilometres north of the original. It was built to house the original 1850’s historic lens that used to operate in the Cape Egmont Lighthouse. The bottom floor is a gallery featuring New Zealand scientist Ernest Rutherford. The man who first split the atom spent several of his university summer breaks at the family home in Pungarehu after his family moved to Taranaki when he was 17. Open weekends only.
Hidden paths, expansive lawns and swamp gardens are all part of the wonderful showcase of colour and horticulture drama that is Hollard Gardens. This garden of national significance features an extensive collection of trees, rhododendrons, shrubs and perennials gathered over the past 77 years.
Just South of Hawera, situated on Rifle Range Rd, there are two beautiful freshwater lakes surrounded by the coastal sand dune belt. The two lakes cover seven hectares. The short, yet pleasant walk (approximately 20 minutes) leads you through farmland that has been planted in native trees by local schools, to Nowell’s Lake. There is also another walk leading you towards the coast. Thousands of swan plants have been planted throughout the walkway so Monarch butterflies are everywhere. The walks are well signposted and have seats for those needing to rest dotted along the way.
The walk can begin from either Ohawe Beach or Waihi Beach. Ohawe Beach is accessed by turning left into Ohawe Road from Surf Highway 45, 5 kilometres west of Hawera. Alternatively you can turn west into Denby Road at Hawera. The descent to Waihi Beach is via a steep gravel track from the car park at the end of Denby Road.
The cool little surf/beach town of Opunake is sure to draw you in with its excellent Opunake Walkway with stunning views of the coast and Taranaki Maunga, as well as a black-sand beach, tucked in between two headlands. Stop here for surfing, swimming, grabbing fish and chips, a coffee in a quirky cafe, or even catch a movie at the boutique cinema.
Any road called “Surf Highway”, is going to be one awesome highway. State Highway 45 is a 105km scenic coast road between New Plymouth and Hawera in the Taranaki region. If you’re planning a road trip down Surf Highway 45, then you are in for a treat. Obviously, the surf breaks at almost every turn off are a major highlight of the touring route, but those who are not here for the surf can find other places worth investigating!
The surf is so good on the Taranaki coast that there is a whole highway dedicated to the sport, Surf Highway 45. The list of surf beaches is endless but the highlights include the beaches at Kumara Patch, Stent Road and Ohawe.
The Tawhiti Museum is a truly unique enterprise. The creation of artist Nigel Ogle, its attention to detail is simply stunning.
Widely acclaimed as the best private museum in the country, the museum uses life size exhibits and scale models to present our heritage in a series of super realistic and engaging displays.
All these displays are designed and built on the premises in the 'Body Shop' and accompanying studios, which can be viewed as part of a museum visit.
Super realistic and spellbinding for all ages, you could easily spend a day looking through the museum, taking a ride on the bush railway or on a boat through the Traders and Whalers attraction, then follow up with delicious light meal at the "Wind in the Willows" styled Badgers Cafe