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Next to New Plymouth

February 3, 2012

We left Tongariro Park on the 11th or 12th of December. And headed vaguely West.

Our destination was New Plymouth, situated behind Mt. Taranaki shown  in the distance. To get there we took part of the “Forgotten World Highway” Named because it passes through an area that was left out when redrawing boundaries, technically leaving it out of NZ.  The few people who live in this area have even made their own passport stamp. It wound around the  hills like above, down through valleys with tropical plants, on sketchy gravel (or “metal” as they say here) roads where we had to dodge trucks. Since the idea of large interstate highways is scarce in NZ, the drive took forever.  When we finally made it to New Plymouth, we found the Ariki backpackers. Actually one of the best I had stayed in so far, with nice owners, good space, and right next to the library for free wifi. New Plymouth isn’t the most interesting city, but nice enough, and being full of stoners, my tie dye received  much praise. Since Chris had a hole in his lef\g from climbing Mt. Doom, and I had nowhere to go, Lena, Chris and I stayed there for a few days.

While there, we climbed a “volcanic point” (tiny volcano) with a new friend from the hostel. Not very tall, but the trail was only a chain attached to the rocks.

From the top you have a great view of an old factory…. And the city in the background. The factory supposedly is famous too, but I don’t know why.

One of the cool parts of the area are the beaches. We hit up back beach with black sand and awesome almost island bits with caves. I had meant to go swimming, but was entirely distracted by exploring, and mostly sea lions!

There were at least 3-4 sea lions (not seals?) within throwing distance. It was really awesome to hang out with them up close. The one on the left was chasing a snorkeler, the one to the right is doing a back bend which I interpreted as What the hell are you doing on my rock?


On about the 16th of December, I parted with my traveling friends and headed north on the west coast to Hamilton.I had found a work stay up there, helping an older couple garden. It was pretty calm place, and I stayed there until just before Christmas.



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  1. Suz permalink

    not sure i’d manage that climb with the chain but am so glad such things exist for ambitious hikers. oh, how i’d love to swim with a sea lion. those do look like seals to me, but what do i know?

    • Oh yeah, NZ is packed with cool hiking. In fact I’m planning to do a couple multi day trips soon!
      I only claimed these were sea lions because I read that the “eared seal” is actually a lion, and these have ears. I’m honestly not sure haha

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