My Travel Map

My Travel Map

05 April 2006

New Plymouth and trip to Wellington

A pleasant garden and view from the cafe we stopped at on the way to New Plymouth. North Island hill country in its prime. Everything is so green; I'm sure the Irish would feel quite at home here. The cafe was awesome too. One of the interesting things here in NZ is that they actually farm deer. Yes, deer. It is really weird seeing a flock of sheep, then a bunch of cows, followed by a large group of deer all in their own respective fenced areas. So that got me thinking, and at the cafe, sure enough, I got to have a deer burger. It was mmm mmm good and farm fresh too.

Once again...the North Island's hill country...aka the Shire.
This pic was taken from the bus on the way to New Plymouth from Auckland. It cannot at all convey how beautiful it was.

So in New Plymouth, I found myself wandering and stumbled upon this amazing park! It is called Pukekura Park and the community is quite proud of it, for good reason too. It was beautiful, with lots of lakes, streams, hills, and paths for walking or running. It also had a slew of native New Zealand flora, which is rare and I will discuss more in detail later. There was also a little zoo and playground for children. It was a really nice surprise, and totally free!

This is a shot of the famous New Zealand silver fern. If any of you have ever wondered why the Kiwis use that white fern on everything (like their Olympic and other national sporting uniforms), it is because of this plant. In this pic, I'm turning one of the ferns over to show its very bright silver/white underside. It really is incredible, and I was shocked to see it all over the park. Anyway, supposedly, if you are tramping (hiking) in NZ and get lost or hurt, simply turn these ferns over along your trail or around you. Those searching for you, both on foot and from the air, can see the overturned ferns very easily and use them to track you down. So there you go; learn something new every day!


After tramping around for the morning in the park, I walked along the ocean walkway that New Plymouth is also famous for. The surf was incredible and I wish I had more time there to find a good surf shop to rent from, although I did see some guys out there and they were wearing wet suits...so maybe it isn't too bad that I missed the cold water.
This pic is sunset at New Plymouth. Notice the sea swells...it was pretty calm in the evening, but they were breaking at even 12 second intervals during the day...its no wonder this is such a popular area for surfing.

And finally, Mt. Taranaki! It is so wild how this one lonely mountain dominates a massive area around it. If you look at a map of the North Island, you can see that the lower left corner is quite rounded. It is almost a perfect semicircle because of this mountain...wild. The locals are very proud of their mountain as well. Most of the tourists that venture to the area are there to climb (or get a chance to climb due to weather) this very lonely volcano.

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