Should you visit New Plymouth and Mount Taranaki?
After Hamilton our next stop was Three Sisters Beach. The wind was so crazy that it was hard to open our eyes to see the wonderful rock formations. One of them was Elephant rock that lost his trunk in 2016 after 7.8 magnitude earthquake. Surprisingly it still looked like an Elephant.
Three Sisters are rock formations called stacks. Some of them were once arches that have collapsed, leaving just the upright columns. I would say there are more than three siblings involved ha ha….
The coastline is ever changing, and ocean do everything it can to add or take away more family members whenever it’s possible.
After a night in a car in small city called Waitara (where locals came in our campground in the middle of the night, played laud music and left a ton of trash) we arrived in New Plymouth.
Even before we came to New Zealand I felt indescribable and unexplainable urge to see this city. I saw a picture of a majestic Taranaki mountain in the background of the city and I guess that amazed me.
When we arrived turned out that city wasn’t as glorious as I was imagining. It was a nice little city with a nice park, beautiful houses and promenade along the coast. But it wasn’t that magical place that my mind created.
Nevertheless, it I still liked it very much. I liked the artwork on the houses and the weird 48-metre kinetic sculpture called The Wind Wand that has become one of the cities symbols.
I also really liked the Brooklands Park, with its pond, waterfalls and greenhouses with a lot of orchids.
We even climbed The Paritutu Rock – very steep and relatively small cliff. The climb starts with stairs, but the major part you have to climb on all four with a little help of chains attached to the cliff. I would suggest anyone to try climb it. Just to feel the satisfaction after a hard climb and to be able to see beautiful surrounding from the top.
One of the best things about the New Plymouth was meeting one of our friends and his girlfriend. We decided to climb Mount Taranaki together and we chose Veronica track to do so. Lady at the Information desk in Egmont Natural Park informed us, that the Mountain is covered with snow, so it is not safe for us to climb all the way to the top with no special equipment, guide and of course some skills. So we decided to climb as high as we can until we will reach the snow. And so we did.
Walk was relatively easy and the views were great. We were so lucky with the weather. Although it didn’t seem promising before.
The Mount Taranaki is an active but quiescent stratovolcano. It is geologically young, having commenced activity approximately 135,000 years ago. The most recent activity was the production of a lava dome in the crater. The mountain collapsed down the side in the 1850s or 1860s. It’s perfect siluet is one of the most recognizable symbols for the region. Basically you can see it from nearby cities all around it.
We walked back to Information center via Goblin Forest walk. It was magical. The trees were covered with moss and air smelled like soil and wet grass.
When we returned to the New Plymouth clouds covered the sky and there were no signs of the great perfectly shaped volcano to be found.
The next day we decided to see the Brooklands (Pukekura) Park. It covers 52ha (128 acres) right in the heart of the city and is one of New Zealand's premier botanical gardens. It turned to be very lovely, especially the Green houses with all kinds of plants, trees and flowers.
Orchids were my favorites (mainly because all the orchids I ever had died in a quick unexplainable death. Even if I tried treat them different ways the result remained the same. They just didn’t last.) There were ponds with birds, fountains, and nice little café that served delicious coffee and Ice cream.
On our way to our campground we decided to visit Hollard garden. Established in 1927 by Bernie and Rose Hollard, it features intimate gardens, expansive lawns, hidden paths, a swamp garden, bbq and kitchenette – The Family Corner. Hollard Gardens are informal and very private. The property is a plant collector’s dream and displays a huge variety of plants both native and exotic. The gardens continue Bernie Hollard’s legacy of collection, plant innovation and sustainability. Many plants here are rare and endangered. Entrance is free. There were no season for most of the plants, but it was still worth the stopping. I can only imagine how nice it is when everything blooms.
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