Taranaki-River Regions Campervan Holiday
Taranaki – on the North Island’s rugged west coast and dominated by Mt Taranaki – has a contrasting landscape and easily-accessible outdoor activities ranging from viewing nationally and internationally significant gardens, to adventures that offer the chance to surf and snowboard in the same afternoon. It's a 4-5 hour drive by campervan from Auckland or Wellington, and is well worth spending a few days discovering once you arrive.
- Mt Taranaki is ever-present in this region – a huge, dramatic volcanic cone with a snowy top. Mt Egmont encompasses the mountain and the land around it.
- Hiking is the thing to do here. Rainforest covers the foothills of the mountain, but the landscape changes the higher you go, moving from tall rimu and kamahi trees to dense sub-alpine shrubs, then an alpine herb field with plants unique to the park.
- Mt Taranaki is a spiritually important landmark for Māori, and historic Māori pa (fortified villages) dotted throughout Taranaki tell stories of the region’s culture and history.
- The climate of this region makes it a paradise for extravagant flowing plants and many private gardens are open for tours.
- Taranaki has some of New Zealand’s best surf, and the south to north-facing coastline means the surf’s usually up somewhere. Surf Highway 45, a scenic coastline road between New Plymouth and Hawera, travels to the top surf spots.
- Taranaki is an historically significant region. The New Zealand land wars that opposed Māori and Pakeha started in the town of Waitara, while the passive non-violence movement resisting land confiscation and colonisation originated in the village of Parihaka.
- Forgotten World Highway, New Zealand’s first heritage trail, travels ancient Māori trade routes through the region's pioneering past. This secluded route follows an evolving landscape, with stunning mountain backdrops and historic sites and makes a fascinating leg of a motorhome road trip. Whangamomona, the central township on the Forgotten World Highway, declared itself a republic in 1989.
- The biggest town in Taranaki is New Plymouth. There are no campervan rental suppliers in New Plymouth, so if you wish to explore this region by campervan (and you don't own one), the nearest campervan hire depots will be in Auckland or Wellington.