Centred around one of the world’s most photogenic volcanic peaks, the Western North Island brings together wild, surf-beaten coastlines with gentle, rolling pasturelands, and exhilarating subterranean adventure with orderly, park-filled towns.
Supremely sacred to the Maori, the area has been only sparsely populated, leaving the surrounding scenery in all its pristine splendour. Here you will find plunge pools, waterfalls and endless hiking trails throughout the Egmont National Park.
On the coast are the Three Sisters and Elephant Rock, huge pinnacles that rise from the beach, and further out to sea lie the Sugar Loaf Islands, a vital refuge for sea birds and fur seals.
Surfers flock to the area from Auckland to take to the waves, but look closer and you’ll discover dark, narrow caves, reached only at low tide, that shelter ancient Maori rock carvings of symbolic images.
New Plymouth and Mount Taranaki
Amongst the small towns that dot the shoreline. the principal settlement of New Plymouth represents life in a relaxed, content state. Most remarkable of all, however, is the presiding mountain, Mount Taranaki.
Now 120,000 years old, this volcano last erupted in 1775 and stands proud and isolated over its surroundings; its sheer size is breathtaking.