7 Unusual Things To Do In Taranaki New Zealand – 2024 Ultimate Guide


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Taranaki, New Zealand, offers a plethora of unique and off-the-beaten-path experiences for travelers seeking something out of the ordinary. From exploring hidden gems to immersing yourself in the local culture, there are plenty of unusual things to do in Taranaki New Zealand. Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast, a nature lover, or a history buff, this region has something special to offer. Join us as we uncover some of the most intriguing activities and attractions that make Taranaki a must-visit destination for those looking to step off the typical tourist path.

Visit the Forgotten World Highway

Essential Information

– Address: Forgotten World Highway, Taranaki, New Zealand
– Opening Hours: 24/7
– Fee: Free
– Visit Duration: Half-day to full-day
– Ideal for: Adventure seekers, nature lovers

Why is it so unusual

The Forgotten World Highway in Taranaki, New Zealand, offers a unique experience for travelers seeking off-the-beaten-path adventures. What sets this highway apart are the unusual attractions that can be found along the way. One such attraction is the mysterious “Bridge to Somewhere,” a bridge that leads to nowhere, sparking curiosity and intrigue among visitors.

For those looking for a bit of thrill, the highway is home to the Republic of Whangamomona, a self-proclaimed independent republic with its own president and passport stamp. Travelers can immerse themselves in the quirky charm of this unconventional destination and even attend the Republic Day celebrations held annually.

Nature enthusiasts will be delighted by the stunning landscapes that the Forgotten World Highway traverses. From lush forests to rugged mountains, the scenic beauty of this route is truly unparalleled. Make sure to stop by the Tangarakau Gorge, where you can marvel at the towering cliffs and crystal-clear waters of the Tangarakau River.

For a taste of history, visit the historic Whangamomona Hotel, which dates back to the early 1900s and is filled with stories of the region’s past. The hotel’s rustic charm and warm hospitality make it a must-visit stop along the highway.

Whether you’re seeking adventure, natural beauty, or a touch of whimsy, the Forgotten World Highway has something unique to offer every traveler. So pack your bags, hit the road, and discover the wonders that await along this extraordinary route.

Explore the Tawhiti Museum

Essential Information

– Address: 401 Ohangai Road, Hawera, Taranaki, New Zealand
– Opening Hours: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM daily
– Fee: Adults $20, Children $5
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts, families with children

Why is it so unusual

The Tawhiti Museum in Taranaki, New Zealand, stands out as an unusual tourist attraction due to its unique blend of art, history, and innovation. What sets this museum apart is its renowned life-size exhibits that bring history to life in a captivating and interactive way. Visitors are transported back in time as they wander through meticulously crafted scenes that depict the region’s rich heritage.

One of the most unusual aspects of the Tawhiti Museum is its Whanganui Riverboat experience. Step aboard a replica riverboat and embark on a virtual journey along the Whanganui River, complete with realistic sounds and visuals that make you feel like you’re truly cruising the waters.

Another highlight is the Traders & Whalers exhibit, where visitors can explore a recreated 19th-century trading post bustling with activity. Witness the hustle and bustle of traders bartering goods and interact with the lifelike figures that populate this immersive setting.

For those intrigued by the macabre, the museum’s Haunted House offers a spine-chilling experience unlike any other. Dare to venture into the eerie corridors and encounter ghostly apparitions and mysterious phenomena that will send shivers down your spine.

Additionally, the Tawhiti Museum boasts an impressive collection of vintage vehicles, including steam engines and classic cars, providing a glimpse into the transportation of yesteryears. History buffs and automobile enthusiasts alike will appreciate the attention to detail and craftsmanship displayed in these well-preserved relics.

Overall, the Tawhiti Museum offers a truly unique and unforgettable experience that combines artistry, history, and entertainment in a way that is sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors of all ages.

Climb Paritutu Rock

Essential Information

– Address: Paritutu Rock, New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand
– Opening Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset
– Fee: Free
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts

Why is it so unusual

Towering over the coastal landscape of Taranaki, Paritutu Rock stands as a unique geological formation that beckons the adventurous at heart. What sets this attraction apart is the exhilarating experience it offers to those willing to conquer its rugged terrain. The ascent up Paritutu Rock is not your average hike; it’s a thrilling climb that rewards intrepid explorers with breathtaking panoramic views of the Tasman Sea and the surrounding rugged coastline.

As you begin your ascent, you’ll find yourself navigating through a series of steep ladders and rocky outcrops, adding an element of excitement and challenge to the journey. The sense of accomplishment that comes with reaching the summit is unmatched, making it a must-do for adrenaline junkies and outdoor enthusiasts.

Once at the top, the sweeping vistas of the azure waters below and the distant Mount Taranaki on the horizon create a picture-perfect backdrop for those seeking Instagram-worthy shots. The raw, untouched beauty of the landscape from this vantage point is truly awe-inspiring, offering a unique perspective that few get to witness.

For those seeking a taste of adventure and a chance to push their limits, a climb up Paritutu Rock is an experience like no other. So, lace up your hiking boots, pack your sense of adventure, and get ready to conquer this unusual and exhilarating tourist attraction in Taranaki, New Zealand.

Discover the Whanganui River

Essential Information

– Address: Whanganui River, Taranaki, New Zealand
– Opening Hours: Varies depending on activity
– Fee: Costs vary depending on the activity
– Visit Duration: Half-day to multiple days
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, adventure seekers

Why is it so unusual

The Whanganui River in Taranaki, New Zealand, offers a unique experience for travelers seeking something out of the ordinary. While many rivers around the world are known for their scenic beauty and recreational activities, the Whanganui River stands out for its unusual attractions that cater to the adventurous spirit.

One of the most distinctive features of the Whanganui River is the opportunity to embark on a multi-day canoe journey. Paddling down the river allows visitors to immerse themselves in the stunning natural surroundings while experiencing the thrill of navigating the river’s twists and turns. This activity is not only a physical challenge but also a chance to disconnect from the modern world and reconnect with nature.

For those looking for a more unconventional experience, the Whanganui River also offers the chance to stay in unique accommodations such as floating lodges. These floating retreats provide a one-of-a-kind overnight experience, allowing guests to fall asleep to the gentle lull of the river and wake up to the sounds of nature.

Additionally, the Whanganui River is home to hidden hot springs that offer a relaxing soak amidst the wilderness. These secluded thermal pools provide a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, making them a must-visit for travelers seeking a truly unusual experience.

Overall, the Whanganui River in Taranaki, New Zealand, is a destination like no other, offering a range of activities that cater to the adventurous traveler looking to explore off-the-beaten-path attractions. Whether it’s paddling down the river, staying in a floating lodge, or soaking in hidden hot springs, the Whanganui River promises a memorable and unconventional adventure for all who visit.

Wander through the Pukekura Park

Essential Information

– Address: Fillis Street, New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand
– Opening Hours: 7:30 am to 9:00 pm daily
– Fee: Free entry
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, families, photographers

Why is it so unusual

Pukekura Park in Taranaki, New Zealand, stands out as an unusual tourist attraction due to its unique features and activities that offer visitors a one-of-a-kind experience. One of the most unusual aspects of the park is the mesmerizing Festival of Lights held annually, where the park transforms into a magical wonderland illuminated by captivating light displays. This event attracts visitors from near and far, making it a must-see for those seeking a truly enchanting experience.

Another unusual feature of Pukekura Park is the iconic Tea House nestled within the park grounds. This charming establishment offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy a delightful cup of tea or coffee while surrounded by the park’s serene beauty. The Tea House also hosts special events and live music performances, adding a touch of sophistication to any visit.

For the adventurous souls, the park offers the chance to explore its hidden gems through guided night walks. These nocturnal adventures allow visitors to discover the park’s nocturnal inhabitants, such as glowworms and native birds, in a whole new light. The guided walks provide a unique opportunity to witness the park’s natural beauty under the starlit sky, creating unforgettable memories for nature enthusiasts.

In addition to these activities, Pukekura Park boasts a picturesque boating lake where visitors can rent paddle boats and leisurely cruise along the tranquil waters. This serene experience offers a different perspective of the park’s lush surroundings and is perfect for those looking to unwind and connect with nature.

Overall, Pukekura Park’s blend of enchanting light displays, charming Tea House, guided night walks, and boating lake make it an unusual tourist attraction that promises a memorable and immersive experience for all who visit.

Take a tour of the Cape Egmont Lighthouse

Essential Information

– Address: Cape Rd, Manaia, Taranaki, New Zealand
– Opening Hours: Tours available by appointment only
– Fee: Small admission fee
– Visit Duration: Approximately 1 hour
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts and lighthouse aficionados

Why is it so unusual

When exploring the rugged coastline of Taranaki, one standout attraction that piques the curiosity of visitors is the Cape Egmont Lighthouse. What sets this lighthouse apart from others is the opportunity it offers to step back in time and experience a slice of maritime history firsthand.

As you ascend the spiral staircase to the top of the lighthouse, the panoramic views of the Tasman Sea and the surrounding landscape are truly breathtaking. But what makes this experience truly unique is the chance to participate in a guided tour that includes a demonstration of the original mechanism used to rotate the light. This hands-on encounter with the inner workings of a functioning lighthouse is a rare treat for those fascinated by maritime technology.

For the adventurous souls, a climb to the lantern room provides a bird’s eye view of the coastline, offering a perspective that few get to witness. The feeling of standing atop a historic structure that has guided countless ships to safety over the years is both humbling and exhilarating.

Additionally, visitors can learn about the keepers who once manned this beacon of light, gaining insight into the challenges they faced and the importance of their role in ensuring the safety of seafarers. The stories shared by knowledgeable guides add a personal touch to the experience, making it all the more memorable.

For those seeking a departure from the ordinary tourist attractions, a tour of the Cape Egmont Lighthouse promises a glimpse into a bygone era and a deeper appreciation for the maritime heritage of Taranaki.

Experience the Mokau River Jet Boat Tour

Essential Information

– Address: Mokau River, Taranaki, New Zealand
– Opening Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
– Fee: $100 per person
– Visit Duration: 1.5 hours
– Ideal for: Thrill-seekers and nature enthusiasts

Why is it so unusual

The Mokau River Jet Boat Tour offers a unique and exhilarating experience for visitors to Taranaki, New Zealand. Unlike traditional boat tours, this adventure takes you on a high-speed journey through the stunning Mokau River, showcasing the region’s natural beauty in a thrilling way.

As you board the jet boat, you’ll feel the rush of adrenaline as the powerful engine propels you through the winding river. The experienced guide will navigate through narrow channels and sharp bends, providing an exciting ride that will leave you breathless.

One of the most unusual aspects of this tour is the opportunity to witness the local wildlife up close. Keep your eyes peeled for native birds, such as herons and kingfishers, as they soar overhead or perch along the riverbanks. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a glimpse of the elusive longfin eel, a unique species that calls the Mokau River home.

For those seeking a more interactive experience, the jet boat tour also offers the chance to try your hand at fishing in the river’s pristine waters. Feel the thrill of reeling in a catch as you compete with fellow passengers for the biggest fish of the day.

Overall, the Mokau River Jet Boat Tour stands out as an unusual attraction due to its combination of adrenaline-pumping adventure and serene natural beauty. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or nature lover, this experience is sure to leave a lasting impression and create unforgettable memories of your time in Taranaki.

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