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Off the Beaten Track Holidays: Spotlight on the Taranaki Region

Put away the guide books and leave the well-travelled highways behind, it’s time to submerge your sense of adventure in a New Zealand off the beaten track getaway.

Rated as the number two Best in Travel 2017 destination by intrepid publishers Lonely Planet, the Taranaki Region is an unsung hero waiting to be praised loudly and grandly, boasting over 200km of trails, breezy beaches, majestic ranges and many man-made curiosities, including a world-class art gallery.

Let’s explore Taranaki, including walks to enjoy and what to do while you’re there.

Our Three Favourite Taranaki Walks

Short (3 hours): Curtis Falls Track

Park the car at Ngati Ruanui Stratford Mountain House, pick up your water caddy and prepare yourself for a challenging stroll. You’ll pass Te Pop Stream, putting those glutes to work on man-hewn steps and ladders before a sharp descent into the Manganui River Gorge. Skip from rock to rock, taking pictures all the while, before arriving at Curtis Falls for an alpine paddle before returning to civilisation.

Medium (Overnight): Maketawa Hut Circuit

Take only your essentials on this overnight tramp into the Egmont National Park, preparing yourself for a stair-climbing, sight-seeing and sure-footed good time. Rated as Advanced – although beginners can do it too – the Circuit gives as much as it demands; you’ll be spoiled with dense rainforests, flowing rivers and sweeping alpine terrains. The views of Mt Taranaki are superb.

Long (2-3 days): The Pouakai Circuit

Experienced? Enthusiastic? There’s no better tramping trail than the Pouakai Circuit. Explore the alpine tussock fields, unique swamplands and staggering cliffs of Egmont National Park, and get away from the modern world for a while. The side trip to Bells Falls is worth the extra time on foot – where else will you see fresh water falling over an ancient lava flow?

3 Taranaki Must-Do’s

Harakeke Weaving Workshop

Do something a little out of left-field and learn the finer points of Harakeke weaving, using flax to make necklaces, bracelets and stars. You’ll become acquainted with Maori hauhake (harvesting) traditions, letting your fingers and hands do the work on a small keepsake, while immersing yourself in authentic culture.

Len Lye Centre

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is a New Zealand first, taking out the title of sole museum of contemporary art in the Land of the Long White Cloud. Its iconic curved, stainless steel walls attract many selfies and would-be photographers, but it’s what’s inside that should get you excited. This cornerstone of artistic innovation features an ever-changing exhibition programme, regular events and educational opportunities, daily tours as well as late-night hours on Thursday. Promising much and delivering more, enjoy the latest addition of the Len Lye Centre, another New Zealand first. Dedicated to the film-making legend and sculptor, the 62-seat Len Lye Centre Cinema catches audiences up on his genius before opening the doors on his many works.

See Mt Taranaki from the Sky

Survey the indominable peak of Mount Taranaki, rising 2518m above sea-level in a specialty helicopter built for the cold conditions of this mountainous monster – the view from the ground just doesn’t do it justice. You’ll see so much more than we can describe here; needless to say, this is a tour not to be missed.

There’s no better way to see New Zealand! Create your own itinerary with Relaxing Journeys and experience the Taranaki region for yourself.