Photo by Andrea Schaffer
About Taranaki, NZ
Taranaki is located on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. This region is named for–and is also best known for–the majestic Mount Taranaki, an enormous, snow-capped volcanic cone that dominates the area.
Taranaki means “gliding peak” in Maori. As the legend goes, the mountain god Taranaki once resided with Tongariro, Ruapehu, and Ngauruhoe, the massive volcanic mountains in the middle plateau of the North Island. Taranaki fell in love with Tongariro’s wife, Mount Pihanga, and battled Tongariro for her. Taranaki lost the fight and was banished to the west coast. As Taranki fled the area, he carved out the landscape as he went, creating the Wanganui River. Many say the clouds that sometimes cover the mountain are Taranaki concealing his broken-hearted tears.
This breathtaking region is situated halfway between Auckland and Wellington and is embraced by the Tasman Sea on the west. Taranaki’s rugged coastline has sandy, sometimes black sand, beaches for swimming, and plenty of rivers and waterfalls inland. Mount Taranaki alone is the source of more than 50 streams and rivers and is covered by unique plant life and vegetation. Here, you’ll find diverse landscapes such as lush rainforests, sub-alpine scrub and herb fields, trees like Rimu and Kamahi.
Swimming Water Quality in Taranaki
Taranaki Regional Council monitors 55 swimming spots in the region. These swimming spots include 39 coastal lakes and 16 rivers, which are sampled weekly from December 1 to February 15.
Water Sports and Activities in Taranaki
In this region, swimming, diving, surfing, and boating are popular activities along the coast. Inland, Taranaki’s rivers make for great river rafting and fishing. Walking and hiking are also beloved activities here, and nature-lovers can take advantage of one of the 200 kilometres (124 miles) of trails that encompass Mount Taranaki.
On the southern coast of Taranaki, you can enjoy supervised swimming at Ohawe Beach, which is patrolled by the Ohawe Surf Life Saving Club. Nearby, the Kaupokonui River is a favourite spot for fishing and camping.
On the north coast, Back Beach has some of the best surfing in the region as well as dramatic black sand. The north coast is also home to the Three Sisters, a spectacular rock formation at Tongaporutu.
Weather in Taranaki
Taranaki has a warm and temperate climate. The region is warmest from December to February, with temperatures ranging from 23-24 °C (73-75 °F). The water is warmest during these months as well, reaching 20 °C (68 °F).
In Taranaki, you can surf, hike up a mountain, and snowboard in the same day. You can discover diverse forests, or explore the rusty skeletal remains of the SS Gairloch at the black sand Ahu Ahu beach. One thing is certain: whatever you do, you’ll be doing it under the watchful eye of Mount Taranaki.
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