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Fitzroy Beach. Just 1½ km (¾ mile) from the center of New Plymouth, this reasonably exposed beach is easily accessible. You can even walk or bike here on the New Plymouth Coastal Walkway. Changeable surf makes it a bit wild, so be sure to swim between the patrol flags. There's interesting rock-pool exploring to be had here and at other beaches along this coast, courtesy of the black sand and rocky outcrops. Expect crowds on hot summer days, when pohutakawa trees provide shade in some spots. Nearby acccommodations include the Fitzroy Beach Motel and the popular Fitzroy Beach Holiday Park (camp and campervan sites and cabins, some with kitchenettes). Amenities: lifeguards (summer), parking (no fee), toilets. Best for: surfing, swimming, walking. Beach St., Fitzroy, 4312.
Ngamotu Beach. With its black sand and location beside the busy container wharves and sheds of Port Taranaki, this is not the most picturesque of beaches. Neverthess, it's good for families, as the swimming is safe and there's a playground. There's also lots of history here, of early Māori and European altercations. Belt Road Seaside Holiday Park (tent and campervan sites, cabins, and motel studios) is close by, as are the cafés of Port Taranaki. Events include kids' triathlons and open-water swims. Amenities: toilets. Best for: surfing, swimming, walking. Ocean View Parade, New Plymouth, 4310.
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