Taranaki Region of New Zealand

The Taranaki Region is located on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand, and is named after the magnificent Mount Taranaki that dominates the region! Whether you want to surf the waves, hike the trails, explore the galleries, or taste the local produce, Taranaki has a lot to discover!

An infographic showing popular places to visit in the Taranaki region of New Zealand

An Overview of the Taranaki Region of New Zealand

Taranaki Location:West coast of the North Island of New Zealand
Bordering Regions:Waikato and Manawatu-Whanganui
Region Size (km2):7,257
Population:117,561 (2018 census)
Main Cities and Towns:New Plymouth, Hawera
Most Popular Tourist Destinations:Mount Taranaki
Cape Egmont Lighthouse
Surf Highway 45
Whitecliffs Walkway

Highlights of the Taranaki Region of New Zealand

New Plymouth

New Plymouth Taranaki Region of New Zealand

The main city in the Taranaki region is the vibrant city of New Plymouth! This city is located on the stunning west coast of the North Island, against the wild Tasman Sea. New Plymouth is known for its thriving arts scene, and is home to the incredible Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. The city is also decorated with spectacular murals and brightly-colours artworks, which are interesting to discover as you wander down the main street!

There are lots of things to do and see while visiting New Plymouth – from relaxing at one of the many cafes and restaurants to wandering around the peaceful Pukekura Park. New Plymouth is the gateway to the stunning Mount Taranaki and Egmont National Park, and a great base to explore the Taranaki region!

Surf Highway 45

Surf Highway 45, Taranaki Region of New Zealand

Stretching along the west coast of the Taranaki region is the famous ‘Surf Highway 45′, which offers access to more than 12 world-class surf breaks! Some of the most popular include Stent Road, Kumara Patch, and Opunake Beach. If you aren’t a surfer, these spots are still a fantastic place to stop and soak up the spectacular views! The highway also passes through charming towns and villages, such as Oakura, Ōkato, and Pungarehu, where you can find cafes, galleries, and historical sites. 

Cape Egmont Lighthouse

Cape Egmont Lighthouse, Taranaki Region of New Zealand

Cape Egmont Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse that was built in 1865 and is one of the last working lighthouses in New Zealand. It is located on the westernmost point of the Taranaki Peninsula, and marks the entrance to the North Taranaki Bight. The lighthouse is surrounded by stunning scenery, with views of the mountain, the sea, and the farmland. It is also a popular spot for watching the sunset and the stars. You can visit the lighthouse by car or by walking along the Cape Egmont Walkway, which takes about an hour and a half.

Whitecliffs Walkway

Whitecliffs Walkway, Taranaki Region of New Zealand

Just north of New Plymouth is the stunning Whitecliffs Walkway – a must for keen hikers visiting the Taranaki region! This is a coastal walk that offers spectacular views of the dramatic white cliffs (Paraninihi), the Three Sisters rock formations and the historic Te Horo stock tunnel. The walkway crosses open farmland, forest and ridge tops, and is mostly on private land.

Mount Damper Falls

Mt Damper Falls, Taranaki Region of New Zealand

The Mount Damper Falls are an incredible hidden gem in the Taranaki region, and, at 85 meters, are one of the highest waterfalls in the North Island of New Zealand! These stunning falls are in the Waitaanga Conservation Area, and can be reached by a short and scenic walk through the forest.

Mount Taranaki

Mount Taranaki, Taranaki Region of New Zealand

Mount Taranaki dominates the landscape of the Taranaki Region – when it’s not covered in clouds! This dramatic landmark is a dormant stratovolcano, and is the second-highest mountain in the North Island of New Zealand.

The mountain and its immediate surroundings form Egmont National Park, which has more than 300 kilometres of scenic walking tracks, ranging from easy to challenging. Mount Taranaki is also a sacred site for the local Māori people, who have many legends and stories about it. You can climb to the summit of the mountain, which takes about six to eight hours, or enjoy the lower slopes, which have waterfalls, forests, and alpine meadows.

Egmont National Park

Egmont National Park, Taranaki Region of New Zealand

Egmont National Park is a stunning national park in the heart of the Taranaki region, and encompasses the mountain and the surrounding forests. It is filled with natural attractions and scenic walking tracks, which range from a short stroll through the forest to a multi-day hike! One of the most other-worldly areas to explore is ‘Goblin Forest‘, an area of forest where the trees are covered with mosses, lichens and ferns. One of the best walks through this forest is up to the Wilkies Pools, where you might even have a view of Taranaki on a clear day!

Pouakai Tarn

Pouakai Tarn, Taranaki Region of New Zealand

One of the most iconic views of Mount Taranaki is from the beautiful Pouakai Tarn, which creates a stunning reflection of Mount Taranaki on a clear day! This tarn is located in the Pouakai Range, which is in the Egmont National Park. It can be reached by the Mangorei Track, which climbs up into the mountains towards the tarn. You can either complete this walk in a day, or – if you want to catch the sunrise at the tarn, you can stay overnight at the Pouakai Hut!


Hawera, Taranaki Region of New Zealand

Hāwera is the second largest town in the Taranaki region, and the centre of the dairy industry. It is located in South Taranaki, and is about 75 km south of New Plymouth. Hāwera has a rich heritage, with attractions such as the Tawhiti Museum, which displays life-size and miniature scenes of local history, and the Water Tower, which offers panoramic views of the town and the mountain. Hāwera also has a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants, and hosts several events and festivals throughout the year, such as the Taranaki Garden Festival, the Americarna, and the Hāwera A&P Show.

Taranaki Weather

The Taranaki region is located on the west coast, and is exposed to the wild weather from the Tasman Sea. This makes Taranaki one of the windiest regions in New Zealand! It is generally sunny in summer, and can often have cloud and fog over the mountain.

Infographic of the average weather through the seasons in Taranaki region of New Zealand

When is the best time to visit Taranaki?

The best time of year to visit Taranaki depends on what you want to see and do in this region. If you want to enjoy the sunny and mild weather, the coastal walkway, the gardens, the art galleries, and the surf beaches, then the summer season from December to March is ideal. This is also the time when Mt Taranaki is often clear of snow and ice, making it accessible for fit and well-equipped trampers who want to climb to the summit!

Airports in the Taranaki Region

New Plymouth Airport

New Plymouth Airport is the only domestic airport in the region, and is the gateway to exploring the wonders of Taranaki!

New Plymouth Airport is located a short distance from the heart of New Plymouth, and is connected to three main destinations – Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.