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North Island's West Coast Travel Guide

  • Photo: Peter Guttman/

Plan Your North Island's West Coast Vacation

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.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Caving Waitomo's underground landscape encompasses miles of passageways, streams, limestone formations, fossils, and glowworms. Explore with underground walks, boat rides, or "black-water" rafting and rappelling tours.
  2. Hiking and Walking Explore the wetlands, alpine fields, and dense lowland rain forest of Egmont National Park. Multiday and short walks provide impressive views.
  3. Kayaking and Canoeing Whanganui River is the longest navigable waterway in the country; it's also an ideal beginner's river. Pass amazing scenery and historic Māori settlements on a multiday journey by kayak or canoe.
  4. Surfing The black-sand surfing beaches along the North Island West Coast rival the world's best. Near Raglan are Whale Bay and Manu Bay, famous for its consistent, left-hand break. In Taranaki, "Surf Highway 45" accesses premier surfing coastline.

When To Go

When to Go

Although the most popular time is from November through mid-April, most attractions can be enjoyed any time. Spring is garden festival time...

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Check historic weather for your trip dates:



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