On the West side of New Zealand’s North Island lies New Plymouth, a fairly small and, dare I say it, insignificant town in the scale of the world at large…but what is right next to the town is a sight to behold. As with many towns and cities in New Zealand, you go there because of the surroundings – not because of the place.
If you look at New Plymouth from above on Google Maps you will see a white splodge (technical term) to the South…this is Mount Taranaki (or Mount Egmont – as the European settlers named it). It is the most pointy mountain I have ever laid eyes on…albeit briefly. It is a dormant volcano which last erupted around 150 years ago. It was shrouded in cloud for most of the day until sunset when I was finally able to take a photo (although I also took a photo of a photo for extra reference!). The trees up at North Egmont where many walks start from are covered in moss and lichen and make for a very unusual experience.
Thankfully, on flying down to Wellington on a later date, I was able to get some shots of it from above…check this out…just look how flat the area around the mountain is!
Nearby beaches have totally black sand. I talked about black sand on a previous trip to Piha but it had nothing on this.
The main points of interest of the town itself were the wind wand (it moves in the breeze!) and a really beautiful public garden complete with a large eel in the lake (look closely – it was about 4 feet long)…all in all, worth a visit for a night or two.