Explore a surprising region that combines pretty rural villages and tranquil oak-studded countryside with underground adventures in a remarkable cave network. Little villages tucked amongst the hills invite exploration, whether you’re hunting for antiques or an excellent coffee. Hamilton City is known for its manicured gardens, riverside dining and vibrant culture. Rotorua offers world-class visitor attractions, vibrant Maori heritage and spectacular thermal areas guarantee plenty of entertainment in Rotorua. Located at the edge of beautiful Lake Rotorua, the distinctive smell of sulphur soon lets you know you’ve arrived. Just minutes from Rotorua's city centre, you’ll find magnificent examples of hissing geysers, bubbling mud pools and steaming fumaroles to explore.
It is just over an hour’s drive from Auckland to Hamilton driving alongside the Waikato River,[The name is Maori for flowing water] is the longest in New Zealand. Rising on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park as the Tongariro River, it flows north through Lake Taupo and, issuing from the lake's northeastern corner, tumbles over Huka Falls and flows northwest to enter the Tasman Sea south of Auckland. The river is 264 miles (425km) long. It has a gentle gradient and carries a heavy load of ash from the volcanic highlands. The Waikato has formed numerous lakes and lagoons along its lower reaches.
Accessible Accommodation Hamilton
100 Garnett Avenue Te Rapa Hamilton 07 849 0860
Accessible Studio rooms, 5mtr by 6mtr with 2mtr by 2mtr bathroom
Hamilton Town & Country Motel, 579 Cambridge Rd (SH1)
2 bedrooms - 1 with Queen bed, 1 with 2 singles - very comfortable.Good bathroom. 2 access doors - ranchslider in the front and back door into the kitchen area - both easy roll in, no lip at all. http://www.hamiltonmotel.co.nz/
http://www.waitomo.com/about-us.aspx 50 minutes south on Highway 3. World renowned and a magnet for both local and overseas visitors. The Waitomo glowworm, Arachnocampa luminosa, is unique to New Zealand. Thousands of these tiny creatures radiate their unmistakable luminescent light as our expert guides provide informative commentary on the Caves' historical and geological significance. Over your 45 minute guided tour, you'll take in the spectacular Glowworm Cave with its majestic and ornate cave decorations, the deep limestone shaft known as the Tomo and the equally magnificent Cathedral cavern where New Zealand’s own opera diva Kiri Te Kanawa once performed Well worth seeing, one cave has accessible for 60cm wide chairs but there is interesting museum to view will others see caves [should not be missed]
Accessible New Plymouth
The trip south takes you through prime Waikato farmland. In summer, you can pause in the town of Te Awamutu to admire the roses. A detour towards the coast will take you to Kawhia, where hot water bubbles up through the sand - you can dig a pool between low and mid tide. Just before the turn off to Waitomo, you’ll come to Otorohanga. The kiwi house in this town is a chance to meet New Zealand’s national symbol. The Waitomo Caves region is famous for its subterranean splendour. Beneath the surface of this ancient limestone region is a series of vast cave systems decorated with stalactites, stalagmites and glow-worms..
After the rural town of Te Kuiti, which hosts NZ sheep shearing championships each year, you’ll drive towards the west coast through a mixture of farmland, forest and rugged mountain country. At Awakino or Mokau, you can take a break to enjoy the wild beauty of the Tasman Sea. Whitecliffs Walkway is just a few minutes down the road. A series of seaside villages marks off the final leg of your journey. The city of New Plymouth is known for its beautiful parks and gardens. Take a picnic to Pukekura Park to admire the rhododendrons. New Plymouth also has a strong arts focus, so check out the current exhibitions.
New Plymouth District provides the base for New Zealand's major oil, gas and petrochemical industries, which in turn provide a solid commercial and employment base for the region.
Towered over by the impressive dormant volcano Mt Taranaki, the plains of Taranaki are one of the most productive dairying districts in the country. The local economy also includes agriculture, aquaculture, floriculture, horticulture and forestry. Heavy engineering, manufacturing, education, leisure, tourism and recreation also feature.
The region has also become a sought after filming location with The Last Samurai being just one of the many big budget movies filmed here.
Copthorne Hotel Grand Central 42 Powderham Street, New Plymouth Tel. 06 758 7495 The Copthorne Hotel Grand Central New Plymouth is located right in the heart of New Plymouth City only 10 minutes from New Plymouth Airport and 25 minutes from magnificent Mt Taranaki. Situated within strolling distance of the CBD, main shopping centre, TSB Showplace events centre, restaurants, bars and cafés. The hotel offers spacious, air-conditioned, well-appointed rooms (many with spa pools http://www.millenniumhotels.co.nz /
Timandra Motel31B Timandra Street Welbourn, New Plymouth Freephone (NZ): 0800 846263 Tel. 0 6 758 6006 Looking for motel accommodation in New Plymouth that is quiet & set in tranquil garden and bush setting. Close to New Plymouth centre.http://www.timandra.co.nz
The Devon Hotel 390 Devon St Free phone 0800 843338 As a winner of Taranaki's Supreme Tourism Award, The Devon Hotel is Taranaki's top hotel. Situated in central New Plymouth. All rooms have private facilities, tea and coffee facilities, STD phones (with direct dial facility), data jack points, in-house movies, (even PlayStations), and access to all the hotels extensive facilities. There's the heated pool and spa complex, landscaped grounds, cyber lounge (for complimentary guest access to the net, email etc), The Rocks Cafe & Bar, Marbles Buffet (this has to be experienced to be believed - a huge buffet offering seafood, vegetarian, meat and oriental dishes, and "out of this world desserts", but also the renowned Marbles Magic - the waiters all dance, the statues come to life - a must dining experience). Guests enjoy complimentary use of the facilities at the YMCA & Club Health for the health conscious. As for conference facilities - it's all at The Devon Hotel (up to 500 persons). http://www.devonhotel.co.nz/
B-K's Egmont Motor Lodge115 Coronation Avenue, New Plymouth,Phone: 06 758 5216 0800 115 033 Situated opposite New Plymouth Racecourse close to TSB Stadium, Pukekura Park, Polytech and only 3 minutes from city centre. We offer 18 executive units, 10 studio units, four 1 bedroom units, two access units, one 2 bedroom apartment and one 3 bedroom apartment. All units with free broadband(cable & wireless) Sky TV, DVD player, some units also with in-room spa baths http://www.bksegmontmotorlodge.co.nz/
Brougham Heights Motel 54 Brougham Street New Plymouth Right in the heart of New Plymouth, Brougham Heights Motel provides four plus star accommodation for business travellers and families at very affordable rates. Originally built in 1995 and added onto in the year 2000, we have a very modern motel of 34 apartments consisting of: 2 Access Studios .18 Studios.11 x 1 Bedroom Apartments .3 x 2 Bedroom Apartments http://www.broughamheights.co.nz/
Arborio RestaurantSt Aubyn Street New Plymouth 06-759 1241 New Plymouth's most successful foreshore restaurant with its award winning architecture, stunning sea views, contemporary cuisine, late night bar facilities and exceptional service is also available for private bookings including the adjacent foyer area of the Puke Ariki foyer
Pankawalla Restaurant85 Devon St West New Plymouth 06-758 4444 There is an interesting story of how the "PaNKa" (punkha), the predecessor of the electric fan came to be invented. To overcome the stifling heat of Bengal, once a Eurasian clerk in Fort William at Calcutta tied his desk to his roof, attached a string to it and thrust it into the hands of his servant with a command to pull. When the British conquered Myanmar and ruled the country, they introduced ceiling fans which they brought from India. It was a large fan made of cloth, fastened to a long rod and attached to the ceiling. The rod tied to a rope was swung by and office boy. This contraption having originated in India is called "PaNKa" (punkha) (fan) and is pulled by a "PaNKaWaLLa" (punkha wallah).
Okurukuru Cafe & Restaurant738 Surf Highway 45 New Plymouth 06-751 0787 There are a number of features which makes it stand out from other venues. The entrance hall with its large windows offer superb views of the sea and the mountain. Seaward viewing from the restaurant or mezzanine offers a selection of framed views from Oakura to the Sugar Loaf Islands; or move out onto the spacious deck and enjoy outstanding panoramic views from Cape Egmont to New Plymouth, you may even be fortunate enough to see a whale basking off the coast. The generous table layout ensures seating for up to 120 people comfortably, with all tables being able to look out over the vineyard as well as take in the coastal scenery.
Cobb & Co Restaurant198 Courtenay St New Plymouth 06-757 9675 The modern style restaurant with table and booth seating has a capacity for 125 guests. A cosy bar with couch seating is available for a casual drink before or after dinner. The restaurant is located on Courtenay street adjacent to the Countdown supermarket which offers free off-street parking and easy wheel chair access. For the children a play room is available equipped with a Playstation 2, chalk board and other activities. The lunch time menu includes some of the old time favourites ; roast pork, open chicken sandwich, Kiwi big brunch and much more. When ordering from the lunchtime menu a free soup or dessert is on offer. http://www.cobb.co.nz
Things to see
Coastal Walkway 067696060 The award-winning Coastal Walkway is a 7km path that forms an expansive sea-edge promenade stretching almost the entire length of New Plymouth city. Ideal for walking, running, cycling or skating, or simply enjoying the view of the dramatic west coast, the walkway connects popular recreational areas and the CBD to the sea.
The walkway runs from the Waiwhakaiho River mouth in the east to Port Taranaki to the west, with numerous pedestrian access points dotted along the way. It consists mostly of a paved pathway, with a gravel section at the Waiwhakaiho end. Beaches, playgrounds, walkways, shopping, cafes and the Todd Energy Aquatic Centre all accessible from the Coastal Walkway.
Mobility scooters Thanks to a generous donation by TSB Bank, mobility scooters are available from the Todd Energy Aquatic Centre for use on the Coastal Walkway. The scooters are free to use between 8am and midday and from 1pm to 5pm, and are available every day except Christmas Day. A bond, such as car keys, is required and it's best to book ahead. For bookings email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 06-759 6060
New Plymouth Visitor Centre - Puke Ariki 65 St Aubyn St, New Plymouth 0800 639769 067696060 Puke Ariki sets out to inspire creativity by creating stunning exhibitions that highlight Taranaki's past, present and future. A combined museum, library and information centre. Taranaki is a region steeped in history and Puke Ariki (Hill of Chiefs) stands on an original pa site of the great Maori Chief, Te Rangi Apiti Rua around 1700. The pa was deserted and approximately 100 years later it became the landing place for colonial settlers. Puke Ariki is located opposite Len Lye's Wind Wand in central New Plymouth. There are a number of galleries featuring contemporary exhibitions, Taranaki past life, Taranaki geology, flora and fauna, Maori collections (Taonga) and theatre featuring short films on Taranaki
. Pukekura Park Situated in the heart of New Plymouth, Pukekura and Brooklands offer 49 hectares of tranquil surroundings, full of contrast and character. The unique collection of trees and shrubs has developed significantly since the park’s conception. Within Pukekura, many original plantings including ‘The Carrington Pine’ still live on. A gift of 2000 trees from Christchurch, notably Radiata Pine, helped to start the collection. Later large plantings of exotics and New Zealand natives followed, as well as collections of rhododendrons and azaleas. The opening of the fernery enabled a year round display of ferns and colourful indoor plants; begonias and fuchsias are a summer feature and orchids bloom throughout the year. Brooklands, in contrast, has developed into a more formal park with large deciduous trees set within sweeping lawns and perennial gardens with native bush as a backdrop, including a grand 2000 year old Puriri tree. Explore the family focussed Brooklands Zoo with it's farmyard and endangered animals and colourful birds. guided tours—Driven (for the visitor with less mobility). A six seat golf buggy tours the Park between 1pm and 3pm on Sunday afternoons leaving from the Bellringer Pavilion. Week-day tours are by arrangement. Please book with Lorna Jones on 758 1136 Use of a self-drive TSB Bank mobility scooter for the visitor with less mobility. Please phone New Plymouth District Council on 759 6060
Araheke Bush Walk, Meeting of the Waters Scenic Reserve Location: SH 3, south of New Plymouth Length: 1.9 km / 45 min Surface: gravel An attractive walk through cool lowland bush next to the scenic Waiwhaikaiho River. Wheelchair access is via the New Plymouth District Council bridge and a key is required. Contact DOC New Plymouth. Ph: 06 759 0350
Potaema Walk, Egmont National Park Location: Pembroke Rd, off SH 3 Length: 1.1 k m / 30 min Surface: boardwalk and gravel Toilets: amenity area, Pembroke Rd On the lower-east slopes of Mt Taranaki / Egmont, pass through podocarp forest to a viewing platform overlooking a large wetland area. On a clear day enjoy superb views of Mt Taranaki / Egmont
New Plymouth to Palmerston North
drive time 3 hours
There are two ways to approach this drive. You can follow the ‘Surf Highway’ around Cape Egmont and have a beach view all the way. Or you can take the inland route via Stratford and enjoy the green serenity of farmland. Either way, the dramatic volcanic cone of Mt Taranaki will dominate the landscape for much of your journey. Interesting townships pop up regularly - keep an eye out for small museums and quirky art shops. The rural centre of Hawera is home to New Zealand’s largest milk factory and an interactive dairy farming attraction. On the short drive to Wanganui, you’ll enjoy refreshing farmland and river scenery.
The picturesque river city of Wanganui has a long history. Take time to explore the restored heritage areas, A number of private gardens in and around Wanganui are open to visitors. Pause in the town of Bulls if you’re interested in antiques. . Bulls is one of those wonderfully quirky townships where they've made the most of their odd name with humorous signs everywhere around town. In nearby Marton, a maze is cut into a field of maize every summer.
One of New Zealand’s largest provincial cities, Palmerston North has an attractive historic heart. Many of the original stores built in the 1920s and 1930s have been restored and now function as boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Rose gardens and museums should also be on your agenda of things to see.