Sunshine on the west coast: a trip to New Plymouth

This being the Labour Day weekend holiday here in New Zealand, we headed off on a short trip over to the west coast of the North Island and New Plymouth.  We set off early on Saturday morning, getting a good start before the rest of the holiday traffic.  The forecast for the weekend had been mixed, but we soon realised the waterproof jackets would stay firmly in the back of the car as we headed north.

We stopped for lunch on this occasion at Wanganui (or Whanganui), which sits on the banks of the Wanganui river, New Zealand’s longest navigable waterway. It was good to stretch our legs, and spot these memorials to animals that supported the troops during World War 1, made by local school children.

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WW1 dogs

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Another dog

From there we continued on to New Plymouth, keeping our eyes open for Mount Taranki, a ‘resting’ volcano (it last erupted in 1854 and is predicted to erupt again in the next 50 years).  It has a real ‘volcano shape’ (think Mount Fuji), but as it was a bit cloudy, we could only see the base as we drove along. Suddenly there was gap in the cloud, and we saw the snowy peak rising above the clouds – a stunning sight.

We arrived in New Plymouth late afternoon, and after booking into a wonderful bed and breakfast, which I’ll review in a later post, we had a quick walk around the town to get our bearings.  We quickly found the Govett-Brewster Art Centre, which we planned to visit the next day, and also the clock tower, a replica of the original one which was demolished in 1969, as it was regarded as an earthquake risk.

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The Govett-Brewster Art Centre

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Karl by the clock tower

From there we headed down to the waterfront, and took a short walk along a small part of the New Plymouth Coastal Walkway, a 10km path along by the sea.

IMG_5914Looking towards the port

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Looking along the pathway

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One of the entrance points to the walkway

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The Len Lye Wind Wand, a 45m high kinetic sculpture

IMG_5915Part of the walkway gets closed in bad weather

For dinner that evening, we headed over to the Arborio restaurant, next to the Puke Ariki museum, and next to the seafront.  I opted for the prawn, pea and chorizo risotto with parmesan and lemon olive oil, and Karl had a BBQ beef, bacon, red onion and cherry tomatoes pizza.

IMG_5927A risotto to rave about with a Marlborough pinot gris

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What I was told was an excellent pizza

It was very hard not to resist an affogato with amaretto for desert (apologies for poor picture below), though Karl went for a liquor coffee instead.

IMG_5930The ice cream was difficult to eat from a jar, though tasted good

Full of food, we strolled back to our B&B, slept well, and got up the next day full of plans.  Next posts: more about New Plymouth, where we stayed, and why the trip wasn’t long enough.

 

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