New Zealand, land of the volcanoes. After venturing into the Lost World, we decided to detour our route slightly to go and explore the Taranaki region. The three-hour drive becomes far more bearable about halfway through, when you start driving along the coast en route to New Plymouth. Along the way, we stopped twice:
The Three Sisters.
As we were driving, we saw beautiful rock formations and pulled over for a quick photo. A bit later on, we realized we could access the beach ourselves via Pilot Road off State Highway 3. This black sand beach was the perfect spot to get out and stretch my legs. Here, you will be able to see two rock formations (originally there were three), named the Three Sisters.
Located thirty minutes north of New Plymouth, this beautiful beach had very few people, and supposedly some penguins. More than that, it gave us our first view of Mt. Taranaki in the distance! The reflections were perfect when we arrived. If you decide to climb over the rocks, however, proceed with caution as they are very slippery! We learned this the hard way.
When we finally arrived in New Plymouth, we easily found our home of the night: Ariki Backpackers.
We found it to be more like a hotel, and less like a hostel. Our rooms were more than enough, and our beds were quite comfortable.
Nearby, you can find the bus center, the coastal walkway, the Puke Ariki Library and Museum, and an abundance of shops and cafés. While Ariki Backpackers is centrally located, I personally loved that I could see the Tasman Sea from its spacious balcony!
There’s also a big common area, laundry facilities, and a kitchen to accommodate everyone’s needs. I did, however, notice that the vast majority of guests spent time outside on the balcony rather than inside since we had such nice (and hot!) weather.
Ariki Backpackers in New Plymouth made for the perfect home base for our exploration of Taranaki. Part 2 coming soon!
**Special thanks to Air New Zealand, Venture Taranaki, Ariki Backpackers, The Good Home, and Lucy Athletic Wear for sponsoring our journey. As always, all opinions are my own. Photographs taken by David M Gallo Photography.