Should you ever be in New Plymouth, you are bound to walk at least some of the way along the Coastal Walkway. We walked a very small bit on the Saturday afternoon, and returned to go a bit further after lunch on Sunday. The walkway is a 10km path that runs from Hickford Park, Bell Block to the east of the city along to to Port Taranaki in the west. We walked along to the beaches at Fitzroy and East End, but didn’t quite make it to the Te Rewa Rewa bridge, which is so designed that it frames Mount Taranaki.
From there we wandered back into town for a well earned cold beer, street art spotting and a little shopping in a nice design shop, Kina, where I bought a lovely little pink bowl to put on my bedside table to drop earrings in before going to bed.
For dinner we went to a nearby Indian restaurant, Pankawalla, where I had a really delicious and fragrant fish curry, with tamarind, coconut and green curry leaves.
Verdict on the weekend: a lovely but too short trip. There is so much more to see in the area, we only just scraped the surface.
Where we stayed: probably the best bed & breakfast place ever, Airlie House. Nice and comfortable room (with good wifi if that is important to you), a fridge with beer and water, a bottle of wine and welcome chocolates. The house is a renovated 100 year old building, and 5 minutes from the city centre.
The kitchen area
There are even visiting pukeko (hard to see but there were two)
Breakfasts, as I wrote in a previous post, were excellent, with fruit, a cooked breakfast to order, copious amounts of tea and coffee and home made muffins. We were even given two muffins to take with us on our journey home. The mornings also give you a chance to meet the other guests, since breakfast is taken around a communal table, giving the opportunity to meet new people. We were there when New Zealand beat France in the semi-final of the Rugby World Cup, so there was much discussion about that and the forthcoming final as you can imagine.
Verdict: New Plymouth and Taranaki as a destination offers a lot and I would go back to explore more. When you leave Taranaki, there are three signs – one “You’re leaving Taranaki”. The second says “Why?”, and the last “We’d love you to stay”.
Accommodation: I can’t recommend Airlie House enough. Maybe I should have kept it a secret….