New Plymouth

2010-10-25 18:41

New Plymouth

Getting there
New Plymouth Airport, 11 km from the city centre, and 4 km from the outer suburb/satellite town of Bell Block, is the 11th busiest airport in New Zealand, with scheduled services to Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch.

Useful Links

Rugby World Cup Stadium
Stadium Taranaki

Famous sons
Graham Mourie, All Black flanker 1976 - 1982

New Plymouth is the major city of the Taranaki Region on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. It is named after Plymouth, Devon, England, from where the first English settlers came. Maori inhabited the Taranaki region from as early as 800AD, and there were clashes with the first European settlers, who came to New Plymouth from England in 1841 to form one of the first formal settlements in New Zealand.

European settlement expanded along the coast and inland into what is now New Plymouth District and Taranaki. A Town Board was formed in 1863 and in August 1876 the town was constituted as a borough.

Its new status did little to overcome some outside perceptions, however. In 1876 author E. W. Payton wrote that "all the great bustling 'cities' of the colony had a patronising way of trying to snub New Plymouth, referring to it in such derogatory terms as the dullest hole in the colony ... nothing whatever to do there ...I find a great liking for this 'slow, old hole' ... it is a quiet, unassuming place and has not done so much to attract immigrants and settlers by exaggerating reports, as some districts have done."

The Fitzroy Town District was merged with New Plymouth borough in August 1911; Vogeltown, Frankleigh Park and Westown were added a year later, followed by St Aubyn-Moturoa. By 1913 the town had a population of 7538. Seafront land was added in 1931 and 1941; land acquired on Omata Rd was added in 1955 and in 1960 large areas including land to the south of Paritutu, as well as Hurdon, Ferndale and Huatoki were included, as well as land straddling Mangorei Rd between the Henui Stream and Waiwakaiho River.

New Plymouth was declared a city in 1949.

The city is known for its sunny climate, art galleries and beautiful parks. It is also New Zealand’s ‘oil town’, with offshore rigs extracting natural gas and oil. Mount Taranaki provides a dramatic backdrop to the city, while reminding you that the hiking trails of the Egmont National Park are just a short drive away.

Notable features are the botanic gardens (e.g. Pukekura Park), the 7 km (4.3 mi) coastal walkway alongside the Tasman Sea, the Len Lye-designed 45-metre-tall (148 ft) artwork known as the Wind Wand, and views of Mount Taranaki/Egmont. Mt Taranaki, the ‘most climbed mountain’ in New Zealand, provides safe access to skiing, tramping, climbing and photography. Looking remarkably like Mt Fuji in Japan, the cone rises 2518m, is surrounded by lush green countryside and feeds over 50 rivers and steams.

New Plymouth has the unique honour of being a place where you can snowboard, ski, water ski and surf all in the same day. If climbing is not your thing, you can go diving at the Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Park. A refuge for seabirds, NZ fur seals and marine life, the islands host a number of activities including boating, sailing, diving, bird watching, pole fishing, surfing and beach walks.

Down at the New Plymouth waterfront you’ll find Puke Ariki, a wonderful museum and heritage centre that overlooks a six kilometre coastal walkway. At any time of the year, Pukekura Park is a place to relax and enjoy nature. It has a children’s zoo and bush walks. Expect good shopping and an appetising selection of restaurants.

Rugby and cricket are main sports in the region, as well as adventure sports such as climbing, fishing and skiing. The region is a destination for surfers the world over who hit the classic waves around Surf Highway 45, and make the most of the local geography.

Mount Taranaki looms over the region. (Tourist board)


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