North Island's West Coast Places


New Plymouth


Not for nothing is the coastal road between New Plymouth and Hawera known as the Surf Highway. Oakura, a village 17 km (10 mi) southwest of New Plymouth, teems with cafés and crafts shops, but the main draw is the good surf. Oakura's environmental efforts have been recognized by the Blue Flag program, an international organization dedicated to developing sustainable beaches and marinas. Closer to New Plymouth than Oakura, Fitzroy and East End are both popular with surfers, as are Back Beach and Bell Block Beach. At Opunake, in South Taranaki, there is an artificial surf reef.

Beach Street Surf Shop. Local legend Wayne Arthur will give you the lowdown on the hot surf spots in Taranaki. The shop rents equipment and organizes lessons for beginners and advanced surfers. 39 Beach St., Fitzroy Beach., New Plymouth, 4312. 06/758–0400.

Vertigo Surf. At Oakura surfing village, this is the spot for the latest in surfing gear and advice on local conditions. A webcam shows what the Oakura Beach surf is doing at that moment. 605 Surf Hwy. 45, Oakura, New Plymouth, 4314. 06/752–7363.

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