New Plymouth Walks

I love walking. Getting outside, amongst nature, in the fresh air. It is one of life’s delights. It’s not Daniel’s favorite thing to do though so it can be hard sometime to encourage him to come for a walk.

We did get one day of great weather during our 4 night New Plymouth trip and on that day, we did 3 walks. Daniel also helped me cook dinner and then did the dishes (who is this person?) I later found out he had 5 coffees that day. Note to self, make sure Daniel has lots of coffee!

There are lots of walks out this way and I am sure that whatever you choose you will enjoy, but here are the 5 walks we managed to squeeze in between the rain.

Paritutu Rock. ‘When you go to New Plymouth, you have to climb Paritutu rock and see if you can beat my time. I did it in 13 minutes.’ These were the words from my dad.

Challenge on.

The first part is mostly steps which get steeper and steeper. Daniel races off. He is on a mission to beat 13 minutes. I struggle. The steps are hard on my knees and really, I don’t expect to beat dad.

This is not an easy stroll. Paritutu stands 156 meters tall and the ascent is steep. I had seen this rock from a distance from Fitzroy beach. It has a very distinct, pointy silhouette. And now we are climbing it.

Half way up, the steps stop and you are left climbing rocks and boulders up a pretty steep cliff face. There is a chain to hold onto to help you scale the cliff.

The views from the top are excellent and makes the challenging walk/climb so worth it. You will be rewarded with stunning uninterrupted 360 degree views across New Plymouth.

I found the descent much harder. Make sure you take your time. This is not an easy walk. Back at the car park my legs feel like jelly. I will be feeling this tomorrow and the days to come!

Oh, and my time, 9.27 minutes. And Daniel was about 7 minutes. Turns out dad couldn’t remember his time so he just made up a number!

Coastal Walkway. The New Plymouth Coastal Walk Way is a 13.2km path that stretches from Port Taranaki to Bell Block Beach. It’s mostly flat, easy walking, following the coast. You don’t need to walk the whole track, just choose a starting point and begin your stroll. We did our walk from Fitzroy Beach to Te Rewa Rewa Bridge adding in a loop walk around Lake Rotomanu. Being summer, there was an explosion of red flowers on all the Pohutakawa trees which looked stunning. We did this walk in the middle of the day, on a rather hot day. I found there was limited shade on this walk so make sure you go prepared. The New Zealand sun can be pretty harsh!

Paritutu Centennial Park. We headed back to Paritutu, not to climb it this time, but to take a walk through the park next to it. Starting at the base of Paritutu rock I felt a sense of pride looking up at it, knowing that I had climbed it the day before. The walk passes through lush open grass, native flaxes and forest, running along side the coast. We found a park bench along the way and sat and watched the surfers cruising the wave in Back Beach. I was surprised at how many surfers there were. It’s not a common sight in Wellington. The walk eventually comes out at another car park with steps leading down to the beach so we walked back along the sandy beach, past the surfers and huge, impressive cliff faces. Apart from the stairs down and back up from the beach it was an easy walk with some great views.

Fitzroy Beach. The house we rented was only a short walk away from Fitzroy beach, so needless to say, come rain or shine, I was down there at least once everyday. When the sun shines, its a very popular beach for swimming and patrolled by lifeguards. But come evening (or early morning) or in the rain, you pretty much have the place to yourself. The huge stretch of sandy, flat beach makes it the perfect place to to take a stroll, have a swim, watch the sunset or just relax.

Pukekura Park I have been to New Plymouth once before, when I was a teenager. The light festival at Pukekura Park is the only thing I remember from that trip. I am not sure I have actually seen this park in the daylight but have no doubt that it would be a beautiful place for a walk.

Come evening, during the Summer school holidays, the park it brilliantly lit for Festival of Lights. There are some beautiful displays and the colourful lights twinkling off the lake are gorgeous and romantic. There is even live music on some of the nights so be sure to check that out.

New Plymouth Bound.

It’s another car sauna situation. We really must get the air con fixed in our car!

It’s the 1st of January and we begin the New Year with a family trip to New Plymouth. After some last minute packing, we are on the road, an hour and a half behind schedule and minus a few things I forgot to pack, but we are in holiday mode so ‘she’ll be right’

We pass many little beach towns on our drive, it’s made me realise how much of this country I still have left to explore. New Zealand really is a Summer Paradise. I am hoping kiwis are taking this opportunity to explore their own back yard. There is so much to see and do!

Its a hot sunny day and we are feeling it in the car! Each time we enter a 50km zone, the windows come straight down and then regrettably back up again when we get onto the motorway. We meet up in Whanganui at Kowhai Park, with half the extended family. (The half, who like us, had a casual morning departure) Its a great park for families. Running along side the mighty Whanganui River, it has a rather exciting playground that could keep children entertained for hours. It’s certainly a popular place. We set up a picnic under the shade of a tall tree, although I am the only one eating it, hubby had Macca’s on the drive up.

We are only half way to our end destination so we carry on with the journey. Driving through the Whanganui town center, I notice a difference in the vegetation. There are palm trees and tropical looking flowers, very different to what you see in Wellington. We are heading towards warmer weather!

We decide to take the Surf Highway. It’s longer and not as direct, but Daniel did the direct route a year or so ago and said it was really boring. So, it’s the coastal route for us. There aren’t many cars on the route, so we get a clear run and it is scenic. We get views of Mt. Taranaki, although the peak is surrounded by clouds, and some interesting looking land formations – flat land with lots of small hills scattered across it.

We are the last to arrive at our New Plymouth holiday home. Everyone is sitting outside, enjoying the evening sun. We waste no time getting out the bubbles and chippies and spend some time chatting.

After dinner we take an evening stroll. The house is in a great location, it’s only a few minutes walk from Fitzroy Beach. The sky is a smudgy mix of soft sunset colours. The evening air is still and pleasant and I delight in walking bare foot on the sand, waves lapping at my feet.

Yes, this is going to be a great few days!