North Island's West Coast: Places to Explore

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  • Cambridge

    For many travelers, Cambridge provides a good lunch break on their way elsewhere. But this cute town, with its galleries, cafés, historic buildings, and rural English character, is worth a closer...

  • Egmont National Park

    Rising steeply, 8,320 feet above sea level, Mt. Taranaki dominates the landscape of this national park. It's difficult not to be drawn toward it. The lower reaches are cloaked in dense and mossy...

  • Hawera

    This quiet country town, a hub for the farming community, provides a close look at the local history and way of life. Tawhiti Museum is a national gem. The more adventurous can "dam-drop" on the...

  • New Plymouth

    New Plymouth serves one of New Zealand's most productive dairy regions as well as the gas and oil industries. This natural wealth translates into an optimistic outlook that is reflected in New...

  • Palmerston North

    Palmerston North—or "Palmy" as the locals call it—is home to several major educational and research institutes. Thanks to these, young students make up one-third of Palmerston North's...

  • Raglan

    It's hard to think of a more laid-back, welcoming town than Raglan. On the drive out, tune in to radio station Raglan FM 98.1 to catch the local news and grooves. On sheltered Raglan Harbour, and...

  • Stratford

    The town of Stratford sits under the eastern side of Mt. Taranaki and is a service town for surrounding farms. Its streets are named after characters from Shakespeare's works, and it has the first...

  • Sugar Loaf Islands

    About 17,000 seabirds nest in the Nga Motu–Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Protected Area. Shearwaters, petrels, terns, penguins, shags, and herons, some of them threatened species (the reef heron is...

  • Waitomo

    A short drive from the main highway, Waitomo is a small but busy rural village catering to tourists visiting the region's famous cave systems. The town has a small but good selection of cafés, a...

  • Wanganui

    A major gateway to Whanganui National Park, Wanganui city is worthy in its own right. The compact city center has lively streets with shops and galleries and restored heritage buildings that hark...

  • The Whanganui River and Whanganui National Park

    The Whanganui, the longest continually navigable river in New Zealand, flows through one of the country’s largest remaining areas of native lowland forest, much of which is protected in...

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