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Taranaki, Whanganui & Manawatū

Without doubt, the western coast of the southern half of the North Island is totally dominated by Mt Taranaki, the stand-alone perfect volcanic cone that towers up to 2518m, is surrounded by Egmont National Park, and is next-to-impossible to take your eyes off. Try some of the top hiking options here.

New Plymouth is a lovely coastal city featuring the impressive Len Lye Centre, while further south, the cities of Whaganui and Palmerston North may not quite warrant the same attention.

Whanganui National Park is a paddlers dream come true, while if you do venture into Palmy (Palmerston North), make sure to visit the NZ Rugby Museum. If you like beer breweries out in the middle of nowhere, the original Tui Brewery is the place for you.

Our wildcard here is Surf Highway 45, the 105km roadway that goes from New Plymouth around the coast, around the western side of Mt Taranaki, and links back up with the main SH3 at Hawera. This off-the-beaten-path drive is highly recommended.

New Plymouth

Mt Taranaki & Egmont NP

Hiking on & around this perfect volcanic cone

NZ Rugby Museum

A "can't miss" for rugby tragics!

Tui Brewery

Brewed in Mangatainoka since 1889

Whanganui National Park

Paddle the Whanganui River; hiking too.

Text © Craig McLachlan

Image by craig