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Top Things to do in Taranaki

Taranaki on New Zealand’s North Island is known for its world-class surf breaks and volcanic peak that has been featured in several Hollywood films. The region is a pleasant surprise to those who visit, with a range of outdoor activities, museums and native forests to explore. Begin planning your trip to the beautiful Taranaki region with our list of the top things to do.

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Top 10 Things to do in Taranaki

New Zealand's Taranaki region on the west tip of NZ's North Island – and its main settlement of New Plymouth – are a showcase of greenery, alpine beauty and historical significance all wrapped up into a single highly enjoyable package that presents those visiting with a wide array of things to see and do. Simply put, if you're the type that enjoys natural spectacles and taking in true, untouched landscape of the country you're visiting on your trips, then few other regions in New Zealand can provide what you're looking for quite like this area.

Dominated by the stunning, almost perpetually snow-covered peak of Mount Taranaki itself, Taranaki offers an experience as diverse as it is visually impressive – exploring its inner reaches provides one of the best examples of NZ back-country and national park, while heading towards the coastline unfolds a myriad of rugged beaches that are renowned as much for their dramatic landscapes as they are their quality surf breaks. Top it all off with a healthy dose of both Maori and European history and some charming specialist local attractions, and Taranaki presents a cavalcade of things for the prospective visitor from locally and abroad alike to see and do.

If you're planning to visit this ruggedly scenic part of New Zealand, here's our list of recommendations for the top things to do in Taranaki, NZ:

Top 10 Things to do in Taranaki - Visit Mt Taranaki

1. Visit Mt Taranaki

Location: Taranaki, NZ

The Taranaki region wouldn't quite be Taranaki without its iconic mountain (alternatively named Mt. Egmont), an object of pure natural beauty that has become an emblem of the area as a whole and which is one of the most perfectly-formed of its kind in the country.

The subject of numerous postcards, calendars, pictures and paintings, it's the symmetry that gives the mountain its special appearance, with its conical shape utterly striking to view from any angle.

Mt. Taranaki has a special spiritual significance to the Maori culture and is surrounded by numerous myths and legends detailing its origins, however it doesn't take an iota of historical or cultural knowledge to enjoy its sheer spectacle and the array of things to do that the mountain offers.

Trekking and hiking are obvious focal points for those who want to get a more intimate NZ-style experience, and Mt. Taranaki offers opportunities in abundance in its surrounding Egmont National Park, with tracks that branch off in numerous directions and provide walkers with a variety of natural sights such thick forest, cascading waterfalls and deep plunge pools.

The National Park, which lies south of New Plymouth close to the coast, is massive in scope and encompasses the mountain as well as a total area of 335 square kilometres and is teeming with botanical highlights that are a pleasure to soak in along the way which can be seen on the number of available short walks as well as the longer and more epic, multi-day tracks.

"The subject of numerous postcards, calendars, pictures and paintings, it's the degree of symmetry that gives Mt. Taranaki its special appearance, with its conical shape utterly striking to view from any angle."

Other than climbing the mountain itself via the Mt. Taranaki Summit Track – which is an advanced track and thus only truly suitable for experienced hikers – the Pouakai Circuit is perhaps the most famous journey, offering a two to three day adventure through the varying sections of lowland forest and sub-alpine vegetation that are characteristic of the region.

This track has been cultivated by the Department of Conservation to be up there with other international-grade walks and spans some of the most beautiful sections of Egmont National Park including Holly Hut, Pouakai Tarns and the Kokowai Stream.

Spectacular views of the mountain are available throughout the journey, which looks impressive whether it's covered by snow or not. (For a detailed guide to the Pouakai Circuit track, you can download the official guide by the Department of Conservation here ).

Driving is also an option for navigating the mountain and acquiring some wonderful outlooks along the way, with the trip up to the aforementioned Manganui Ski Area worth the time regardless of if you're wanting to ski or not, and the Dawson Falls Road – which winds its way through native bush and leads to a small walking track the falls themselves, which are quite beautiful.

In addition, the various Egmont Visitor's Centres are an easy drive and offer a wealth of information, maps and brochures as well as informative Department of Conservation staff who are always willing to help out, so if you're looking to explore the mountain in greater detail they're well worth paying a stop at.

No matter if you're viewing Taranaki from the New Plymouth coast, gazing up at its peak from a hiking track below or flying high above its pristine white peak, it's impossible not to appreciate its sheer majesty – a testament to the beauty that only nature can provide and a proud standard-bearer for the Taranaki region as a whole.

Top 10 Things to do in Taranaki - New Plymouth Coastal Walkway

2. New Plymouth Coastal Walkway

Location: New Plymouth, Taranaki, NZ

Taranaki's coastline is one of the key natural features that helps define its character, and there's no better showcase open to the public than New Plymouth's Coastal Walkway that allows visitors to experience the sights and sounds firsthand.

Only recently completed, this 11km-long seaside path spans almost the entirety of the city and gives walkers and cyclists the chance to take in the spectacle of the ocean while paying a visit to plenty of the main attractions of the city along the way.

Shops, beaches, cafes, restaurants, farmland, lagoons and architectural feats are all covered during the course of the walkway, with the only limit to what's encountered being the amounts of time and energy you're willing to invest in exploring its many offerings.

The Coastal Walkway is easily accessible and provides a great combination of fresh air and sightseeing, stretching from the waterfront and giving scenic views of the coast and its various ports – on a clear day, you'll even be able to see Mt. Taranaki's proud peak jutting out in the distance.

The walkway can be divided up into smaller portions and spread out over a multi-day journey which allows for extra time to admire the different features or stop for a bite to eat along the way, while its relatively flat layout means it's easy enough on the feet to complete in a single session.

"This 11km-long seaside path spans almost the entirety of New Plymouth and gives walkers and cyclists the chance to take in the spectacle of the ocean while paying a visit to plenty of the main attractions of the city along the way."

Around the halfway point, you'll encounter one of the major landmarks that make the walk special – the remarkably-shaped Te Rewa Rewa Bridge (which means “burial ground” in the Maori language – nice), with its unique curved spines and white arch which frames Mt. Taranaki in distance a popular point for picturesque photo opportunities.

A number of signs and postings are evenly spaced throughout the course of the walkway that come in handy for first-timers and detailing what's where, and while it can be notoriously windy at times, pick a clear day and you'll get some of the best views of the Taranaki coast available short of a paid tour or boat trip as waves crash against the rocks on one side while the different suburbs of the city pass on the other.

The cherry on the top of the walkway's proverbial sundae is the oddly-charming Wind Wand structure designed by renowned NZ architectural whiz Len Lye, an enormous red fibreglass tube which towers 48m into the air and which has become something of a local icon since its construction back in 1999. Spanning from Port Taranaki all the way through to Bell Block in the north-east, the walkway covers all scenic aspects of the city and its surrounds for the best possible price – free.

While it's existed for a number of years, the walkway's recent extension and resulting longer and completely comprehensive scope make it one of the simplest, flexible and most enjoyable pleasures in Taranaki to enjoy however you like - regardless of if you're a traveller or a local.

Top 10 Things to do in Taranaki - Pukekura Park

3. Pukekura Park

Location: Fillis Street, New Plymouth, Taranaki, NZ

This oasis in the heart of the city of New Plymouth is an unexpected gem often encountered for the first time by those visiting the area, featuring one of the best blends of green and alpine scenery in a single panorama that can be found in any city of NZ.

Another of New Zealand's recognised Gardens of National Significance, the park spreads out over a wide 52 hectare area and features a myriad of plants from both NZ and abroad intermingled wonderfully with various walking trails, bridges and waterways which round out the experience perfectly to create one of the premier botanic gardens in the country.

A true slice of peaceful paradise in the middle of the city, there's both plenty going on in Pukekura Park while simultaneously offering a ton of open space for visitors to enjoy as well.

What is a hub of activity filled with the likes of live musicians, fire dancers and acrobatic displays during both night time and its annual Festival of Lights gives way to a serene combination of flowers, ferns and waterfalls that remains highly non commercialised despite its central location.

The grounds of Pukekura Park are kept in tip-top condition all year round – a nod to the efforts of local city authorities – and this immaculate level of maintenance extends to all areas of the park, form its glasshouse-enclosed Chinese garden to its lush fernery and numerous displays of blooming flowers of all colours.

"Another of New Zealand's recognised Gardens of National Significance, the park spreads out over a wide 52 hectare area and features a myriad of plants from both NZ and abroad intermingled wonderfully with various walking trails, bridges and waterways."

It's not all simply a walk-and-look affair here, either; the park goes out of its way to cater to all and interest groups, with kids provided with a large playground, the lakes offering paddle boats for guests to ride on, and a wonderful artificial waterfall that truly comes to life when illuminated at night.

Combine all of the visual and fun features on offer with an array of useful facilities where those in the park can grab a bite to eat, enjoy a drink or simply laze in the shade and it's easy to see why Pukekura Park is one of the best examples of its kind in all of New Zealand.

Perhaps the key feature that makes the park feel special is how well it integrates water into its layout; the various lakes dotted throughout the grounds have their own unique layout and content – some feature water lillies and sculptures, while another boasts a fountain and others allow for guests to enjoy the water with a paddle.

Bridges – such as the Poet's Bridge which crosses between the Main and Upper Lakes – have been in existence for hundreds of years and add an extra layer of brightness and old-world charm to the proceedings, while other architectural constructs such as the Tori gate of Japan's sister city, its Victorian-style drinking fountain and the beautifully-constructed Spring Wind Chinese Pavillion add an international flavour to the park.

Finally, a mention must be given to the park's aforementioned incredible Festival of Lights, held over the summer and which the park becomes a focal point of the city and features an incredible mix of entertainment and sights as the paths, lakes and waterfalls are all illuminated in a wonderful array of colours and tones. If you're lucky enough to be visiting New Plymouth during this season, you'll be kicking yourself if you don't witness the spectacle.

Whether you're coming to Pukekura to go get active and go for a jog down one of its many scenic tracks, out for a day with the family for a picnic and a game of cricket, or a visitor from abroad wanting to see one of New Zealand's best gardens, this is a place that's hard to beat.

Top 10 Things to do in Taranaki - Tawhiti Museum

4. Tawhiti Museum

Location: Ohangai Road, Hawera, Taranaki, NZ

“Not what you're thinking” is probably the best way to catch your eye when you see another museum on the list, as Nigel Ogle's Tawhiti Museum in Taranaki's Hawera is anything but the standard “fossils and relics” museum experience.

Ogle, his wife and their collaborators have done their best to detail the history of New Zealand via ridiculously-realistic replicas of actual scenes, both life-size and miniature that look about as close to real life as humanly possible.

It's not close to your typical wax museum in this regard either, as figures aren't simply standing alone – they're depicted actively participating in that period of New Zealand's history, both European and Maori alike, which helps to add a sense of life to the exhibition and put various scenes and daily routines of the past into better context.

The museum's range of galleries are divided up according to theme, with each featuring a blend of miniatures and life-size recreations; the detail that has gone into the mini models is simply incredible, and faithful depictions of the likes of European settlers exploring the land, native warriors at march and farm workers plying their trade are all given an equal amount of love and attention.

"The scenes on display at Tawhiti Musuem are very well curated, with plaques outlining their historic relevance and making it easier for those visiting from abroad to gain a sense of their significance to New Zealand's history."

All of the displays you'll see during your visit to Tawhiti Museum have been created on-site, incorporating techniques that involve wax moulds and casting to help give them their lifelike qualities – and these, in turn are set amongst dioramas with backdrops of a variety of sceneries that look just as realistic as the figures standing amongst them.

The scenes on display are very well curated, with plaques outlining their historic relevance and making it easier for those visiting from abroad to gain a sense of their significance to New Zealand's history.

Its Bush Railway track – a life-size depiction of a vintage-era Taranaki logging railway – is a particular highlight, as it's both interpretive and as close as you'll be able to get to travelling back in time as one could hope for, while the “Traders and Whalers” historical boat ride is an amazing attraction in and of itself – part ride, part documentary, it's a favourite of families and the ideal way to introduce kids to history in an enjoyable and fun way.

The boat journey travels through a number of different New Zealand time periods – including a spectacular Maori forest section complete with gun fire in a harrowing reflection of European colonisation efforts – and is reminiscent of a Disney adventure while actually allowing for something constructive to be taken away from the experience.

The Tawhiti Museum can be reached in just under an hour's drive from the major township of New Plymouth, and given the variety and quality of its contents, could easily be the ideal spot to spend up to half a day in the Taranaki region.

Part museum, part ride, part theme park and part history lesson, the Tawhiti Museum is one of the most unique attractions in the country and well worth the price of admission both for those with and without children.

Top 10 Things to do in Taranaki - Manganui Ski Area

5. Manganui Ski Area

Location: Stratford, Taranaki, NZ

The alpine scenery of the Taranaki region isn't all just for show; if you're a fan of winter sports and travelling during the colder months, Taranaki will impress with the quality of its ski and snowboard opportunities.

While it might not be as widely known as larger and more highly-promoted ski areas in New Zealand such as those around Queenstown or Christchurch, Maunganui Ski Area at Mt. Taranaki is no slouch itself; during the the months of June to October the coverage is quite good and the fields tend to be far less crowded than those of its larger cousins.

Although the majority of its offerings are targeted at the advanced skier, the ski fields of Manganui feature a blend of beginner to intermediate runs on the main slopes with more advanced options available upon further travel, so skiers and families of all ability levels will be able to find an option that best suits them here.

The ski area is located on the slopes of iconic Mt. Taranaki itself, and is reached via a fairly short walk along a sealed road through Beech forest and features four lifts as well as a flying fox that can be used to transport ski equipment further up.

The facility is unique in that it is run entirely on a volunteer basis by the Stratford Mountain Club and is thus far less commercialised than other NZ ski areas, and its location offers some truly amazing views out over a gorge and the rest of the scenic Egmont National Park in which it lies.

"While it might not be as widely known as Queenstown or Christchurch, Maunganui Ski Area at Mt. Taranaki is a great place to ski during the months of June to October when the coverage is good and the fields are less crowded."

Ski terrain on the field varies from point to point, with gentle but challenging slopes adequate for learners with the sheltered Learners Rope Tow beginner's area, while the T-bar offers uncrowded intermediate runs that will satisfy most who have skied before and the rest of the mountain best suited to the advanced. Manganui's longest run is an impressive 2 kilometres and makes its way through some great NZ back-country scenery.

Snowboarders will also be in their element here; the field is also home to two large natural half-pipes that allow plenty of space for moves and experimentation as well as numerous smaller pipes which one can have to themselves during less busier days.

Those looking to stay in the area can find accommodation at the Manganui Lodge which lies at the base of the lifts and offers share facilities which are entirely communal – including kitchen, bathrooms and dining area, which helps foster a sense of community among visitors. Bear in mind that it's also entirely BYO equipment – there's no on-field hire available at Manganui, so you'll be required to carry yours with you when visiting.

The Manganui ski area can be reached in around an hour's drive from New Plymouth and is a favourite of those wanting to enjoy a New Zealand ski experience that's more authentic and down-to-earth; if the mass appeal of the larger spots in the country don't do it for you, then Manganui is definitely worth a look to satisfy your white-powdery urges.

Top 10 Things to do in Taranaki - Puke Ariki Musuem and Library

6. Puke Ariki Musuem and Library

Location: Ariki Street, New Plymouth, Taranaki, NZ

An essential stop for those wanting to gain a deeper look at what has made Taranaki what it is today, knowledge, heritage and history all combine at the Puke Ariki Museum and Library in the heart of New Plymouth.

What serves as a simple visitor's information centre in most cities is expanded greatly here into a fully-fledged cultural facility that offers a comprehensive look at what makes Taranaki tick (and for which it won an award back in 2003); it's the cultural centrepiece of the town and a striking building in its own right, with a creative architectural design that hints at the stimulating offerings available inside.

Puke Ariki should be one of the first stops for visitors to the Taranaki region as it does a great job of incorporating the likes of overall regional information natural, European and Maori history with activities to keep the kids entertained.

History buffs will be in their element here, as the museum has various exhibits which detail Taranaki's past with several heritage collections that feature objects of all kinds including photographs, documents, maps and other relics both Maori and European alike which are all very well curated and signed and give visitors a sense of its historical goings-on.

Natural history also features prominently, and a range of animal and plant species both living and extinct are covered at the museum, while the geology of Taranaki and its volcanic mountain which has become a symbol of the region as a whole are covered in great detail. Volcanoes and their evolution and formation over time are a key focus – largely because Mt. Taranaki is one of the world's best examples.

"History buffs will be in their element here, as the museum has various exhibits which detail Taranaki's past with several heritage collections that feature objects of all kinds including photographs, documents, maps and other relics both Maori and European alike."

Rotating temporary exhibitions also take place that vary from year-to-year, so depending on when you travel there's no telling what sort of quirky or interesting aspect of the region you'll be able to discover.

Staff at the museum are also extremely friendly and helpful, and will quickly point you in the right direction or answer any questions visitors may have on the centre, New Plymouth or Taranaki as a whole.

Definitely the go-to hub for first-timers to New Plymouth, Puke Ariki has everything one could need, including computer facilities, paper and digital guides, and even a cafe/restaurant – all of which when combined with its picturesque location on the waterfront make for a comprehensive and pleasant experience overall. As far as regional museums go, this is simply as good as it gets.

Lastly, for the budget-conscious traveller, it's always a bonus that entry to the museum is absolutely free – which is simply another small factor that contributes to making this a must-visit.

Top 10 Things to do in Taranaki - Te Popo Gardens

7. Te Popo Gardens

Location: Stanley Road, Stratford, Taranaki, NZ

Taranaki is renowned throughout New Zealand for the quality of its gardens – with New Plymouth, Kaponga and Hawera all having their own standouts in this category - however one of the most underrated examples is found in the Stratford area around half an hour's drive south of New Plymouth.

Te Popo Gardens is a 34-acre blend of both woodland and forest with its centrepiece being a beautiful five-acre garden is a must-visit for those who appreciate plant life of all kinds.

Te Popo, which means “Lullaby” in the native Maori tongue, is peace and beauty incarnate, featuring expansive and lovingly-maintained grounds by its dedicated hosts that's both not to small and not too big; it's the ideal size to wander around and simply be.

Upon entering, it's obvious that a significant amount of work has gone into not only the establishment but also the upkeep of Te Popo, as the abundance of different species of exotic and native plant life and the variety of walking paths found throughout are enough to keep visitors occupied for hours.

Passing from one section of the gardens to the next provides a transition in environments that's akin to setting foot in a new country – from native bush, to traditional park, to a bridge that crosses a stream, there's plenty of different settings to take in and absorb, and the skill in landscaping helps to ensure that your eyes won't soon get tired of what's on offer.

"Te Popo Gardens, a 34-acre blend of both woodland and forest with its centrepiece being a beautiful five-acre garden is a must-visit for those who appreciate plant life of all kinds."

Flowers of varying kinds help to cap off the greenery nicely; the pinks of prunus and purples of clematis contrast brilliantly with the surrounding shrubbery to form a delightful palette of colour, while during autumn its deciduous trees with their fiery reds and bright yellows add even more hues to the proceedings.

Plenty of bird life also makes its home and pays a visit to the gardens, and the sound of birdsong accompanied by the serenity of the surroundings make for a truly relaxing atmosphere. Te Popo also offers accommodation for those looking for a peaceful getaway, with self-contained apartments and suites that are part of the greater homestead where the gardens' owners life.

They're large, comfortable and fairly modern while still offering a rustic feel that's reflective of the homestead as a whole – a faint medieval air can be felt, and its hand-crafted fittings, antique furniture and various fireplaces round out the atmosphere while incorporating flowers and plants throughout.

As a recognised Garden of National Significance by New Zealand's governing bodies, if you're the type who appreciates plant life or are simply wanting to immerse yourself in some relaxed surrounds, be sure to put Te Popo on your Taranaki itinerary.

Top 10 Things to do in Taranaki - Brooklands Zoo

8. Brooklands Zoo

Location: Brooklands Park Drive, New Plymouth, Taranaki, NZ

Taranaki's natural offerings aren't just limited to landscapes – those who are after a dose of animal entertainment as well can visit the region's excellent Brooklands Zoo, an outstanding attraction featuring animals both domestic and exotic that also happens to be entirely FREE to enter (although donations are appreciated).

A true asset to the New Plymouth district, both kids and adults alike can find plenty to keep them occupied at Brooklands whether it be admiring the creatures themselves, enjoying a quality coffee or burning off some energy in the playground. Situated amongst lovely parkland surrounds next to Pukekura (see further below), the potential for enjoying time both at the zoo and enjoying a walk nearby makes for an added layer of pleasantry, too.

While it's not a massive commercial attraction featuring every animal under the sun like some zoos, the zoo is obviously passionately taken care of and all of the animal enclosures at Brooklands are kept in pristine condition – a credit to the staff. In addition, the animals who call the zoo home are diverse enough to provide a good cross-section of the animal kingdom; during a visit, you'll encounter the likes of monkeys, meerkats, otters, and many other critters including a range of farm animals rounding out the offerings. There's also an excellent walk-through bird enclosure that features a solid display of all things avian.

It's a great place to bring smaller children who can get up close with the various species and perhaps learn something along the way.

" Brooklands Zoo is a true asset to the New Plymouth. Kids and adults alike will find plenty to keep them occupied whether it be admiring the creatures, enjoying a quality coffee or burning off some energy in the playground."

Brooklands Zoo is constructed from the ground up with children in mind, reflected in such factors as the well constructed viewing platforms that cater to kids and provide them with a solid outlook of the animals at rest and play.

Likewise, the huge playground offers oodles of potential fun for smaller kids while parents can take advantage of the copious amounts of grassy and shaded areas to relax while the kids get some exercise.

This ample space also makes for the ideal destination for a picnic – bring along your lunch and a rug or claim one of the picnic tables and you'll be able to extend the experience of the zoo and lunch into a solid several-hour affair.

Full credit goes to the local council for both setting up and maintaining such a solid facility for the best possible price (none) which is more and more of a rarity in towns and cities these days – Brooklands is a testament to catering to residents and visitors done well.

While you won't spend an entire day here, it's an easy to recommend go-to destination for those in the Taranaki region with kids and is easily combined with further exploration of Pukekura Park's various impressive gardens and displays for an enjoyable New Plymouth family adventure.

Top 10 Things to do in Taranaki - Mikes Organic Brewery

9. Mikes Organic Brewery

Location: Mokau Road, New Plymouth, Taranaki, NZ

Switching from attractions oriented towards kids to those a favourite of adults, Mike's Organic Brewery is the destination of choice in the Taranaki region for anyone who fancies a tasty drop of the amber stuff.

While it's currently run by a man named Ron (who took over from founder Mike Johnson several years ago), the name isn't important; what is important is the quality of its various organic lagers, ales and pilsners are some of the best from a boutique brewery in NZ's North Island.

The lineup at Mike's Organic Brewery have won several awards domestically and internationally and feature a distinct German and Belgian influence with tastes that range from malty, sweeter notes through to darker coffee-influenced flavours. All of their beers are certified as organic – hence the name – meaning that all ingredients are natural and simply a result of nature at work.

The staff who work at the facility are famously friendly and knowledgeable and are always happy to share their wealth of experience with beer throughout New Zealand and the brewing process with visitors in general, with a guided tour also available for those looking to go more in-depth and experience some quality tastings.

"The lineup at Mike's Organic Brewery have won several awards and feature a distinct German and Belgian influence with tastes that range from malty, sweeter notes through to darker coffee-influenced flavours."

The brewery is located in the Taranaki region's Urenui area just under half an hour's drive along the coast from New Plymouth and set amongst some charming natural surroundings, with a rustic feel complemented nicely by decorative oak barrels and brewing equipment that give the brewery a bit more of an “old-world” feel.

Food is also available if you're looking for a bite to eat and is all freshly-produced (thing scones, pizzas and other baked delights), making the brewery an ideal rest-stop if you're either travelling to or from New Plymouth.

Mike's Organic Brewery even holds a regular Oktoberfest event to help celebrate all-things-beery that features live music, German-style dress ups and – of course – beer, so if you're in the region during April it makes for a great way to both enjoy some quality beverages while meeting some locals.

With over 20 different beer offerings that cover all aspects of the taste spectrum, a friendly atmosphere and the chance to purchase some to take home, Mike's Organic Brewery is a must-do for beer lovers who are in the Taranaki region.

Top 10 Things to do in Taranaki - Fun Ho! Toy Museum

10. Fun Ho! Toy Museum

Location: 25 Rata Street, Inglewood, Taranaki, NZ

The majority of holidays we take are all about relaxing and unwinding, however if you've got kids in tow it's something that can become increasingly difficult to do without having something to keep them occupied.

It's a good thing then, that Taranaki is home to one of the most enjoyable attractions for younger kids in the country – the Fun Ho! Toy Museum in the town of Inglewood, around 15 minutes drive to the south-east of New Plymouth.

Featuring a showcase of over 3,000 toys from a brand that is famed throughout New Zealand, it's an impressive gallery of high-quality handmade kids' toys from the past, with models on display dating as far back as 1935 that make the mass-manufactured plastic toys of today look incredibly disposable in comparison.

The die-cast toys are made on site and involve a combination of passion and craftsmanship that has put smiles on the faces of young New Zealanders for several generations, and seeing the sheer scale of the compilation of all of them lining the shelves is truly impressive with everything from footballers to fire trucks to bullfighters and traditional soldiers on display.

"Featuring a showcase of over 3,000 toys from a brand that is famed throughout New Zealand, it's an impressive gallery of high-quality handmade kids' toys from the past, with models on display dating as far back as 1935."

The museum also features various other, more interactive toy displays that allow the little ones (and the little-ones-at-heart) to try their hand at controlling slot cars on racing tracks, riding the Thomas the Tank Engine train, or simply taking some toys and hitting that most simple of pleasures for kids – the sandpit.

Opened by locals Barry and Phyllis Young back in 1990 as a labour of love, at the Fun Ho! Toy Museum hundreds of the hand-made toys are also available for purchase, featuring a rotating lineup throughout the year and making for the ideal souvenir that will keep the kids happy for the rest of the trip.

With a very reasonable admission price – just $6 for adults and $3 for kids – it's the ideal way to spend a couple of hours for families travelling in the region and a great choice for a rainy day activity in the Taranaki region that both entertains young ones and shows off the skills of human craftsmanship in one.