The North Island's West Coast encompasses a diversity of landscapes: top surfing beaches; world-renowned limestone caves; and two national parks, one centered on a volcanic mountain, the other on a wilderness river.
The land is generally rural, ranging from tidy thoroughbred horse-stud farms to sheep-and-cattle farms located on remote, rolling hill country and a jumble of forest-covered mountain ranges. Small cities and rural towns throughout the region provide a high level of sophistication for their size, in accommodations, food service, and tourism ventures.
The Taranaki region sprang from the ocean floor in a series of volcanic blasts, forming that distinctive curve along the West Coast of the North Island. The symmetrically shaped cone of Mt. Taranaki is the province's dramatic symbol and the backdrop for climbing routes and hiking tracks (trails). Agriculture thrives in the area's fertile volcanic soil, and the gardens around Taranaki and New Plymouth city are some of the country's most spectacular. The mythology and historical sites relating to the local people are an integral part of Taranaki.