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Here’s a sample of local favourites:
• Explore the many trails, short, long and overnight in Egmont National Park
• Fishing at the many beaches around the region
• Meet the cotton-top tamarin monkeys and farmyard animals, walk through the bird aviary and play on the playground at Brooklands Zoo. Free entry
• Explore the botanical wonderland of the 52ha Pukekura Park with its lakes, zoo, historic tea-house, playground, stunning walks, Fernery and Display Houses, TSB Bowl of Brooklands and Japanese garden. Awarded Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence for exceptional traveller ratings.
• Check out the Pouakai Zoo. Hand-feed goats, llama, sheep and kune kune pigs, meet emu’s and ostrich who roam the grounds and sit back and watch monkeys swing, meerkats play, and the feeding of the lion pride and tigers daily at 1.30pm.
• Set the kids free at Chipmunks!
• Enjoy a soak at the Taranaki Thermal Spa
• Check out the many school playgrounds around the region
• Head along to the East End Rink Skating Rink for family skate nights, 7-9pm Friday nights
• Puke Ariki Museum, Library and Visitor Information Centre – discover the past, present and future at Puke Ariki – explore the museum, poke your nose in a book or two at the library, get some local information from the friendly team at the i-SITE information centre and grab a coffee and bite to eat at one of the two great on-site cafes. Free entry.
• Cruise the main lake at Pukekura Park with the Teahouse on the Lake row boats, grab an ice-cream from the kiosk and feed Boris the eel!
• Take a drive up Egmont Rd to Volcano View Cafe. Set the kids free in the huge play area with pedal karts, playground and a flying fox for the young and old at heart.
• Climb Paritutu Rock (Centennial Park, New Plymouth) and take in the 360degree views of Taranaki
• Take a kid to footy! Taranaki is a proud rugby region, hosting three of the 2011 Rugby World Cup matches and home to Yarrow Stadium - named the third best rugby stadium on earth by New Zealand Rugby World magazine (May 2009).
• You can spend hours exploring the world-class Tawhiti Museum in Hawera – with its many attractions, including Traders & Whalers, Farmpower Hall, Tawhiti Bush Railway and Mr Badger’s Cafe. Awarded Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence for exceptional traveller ratings.
• New Plymouth’s Pukekura Park is transformed after dark into a magical wonderland of lights during the TSB Bank Festival of Lights. The festival runs from December to February every year and features live music every night plus a daytime events programme for children and families.
• Pack up a picnic and head to Lake Rotokare – a 230ha pest-free sanctuary, 13km inland from Eltham. Walk the loop track and bring your boat, canoe or kayak to explore the lake or book students in to take part in the variety of highly successful environmental education programmes.
• Grab a hotdog and chips and enjoy the non-stop noise and action at the Stratford Speedway.
• Kids will love the wave pool, hydroslides, diving boards and other facilities available year-round at the Todd Energy Aquatic Centre.
• Mud fight at the Urenui mudflats
• Grab the family and bike down the Te Henui walkway
• Discover picturesque farm tracks bordering the Urenui River, herds of wild goats and pigs and abundant birdlife on a Piko Valley horse trek – for riders from beginner to advanced.
• Climb the 215 steps of the 55m Hawera Water Tower to get a stunning view of the town and surrounds
• Cruise the Sugar Loaf Islands with Happy Chaddy’s Charters
• Head to the Dawson Falls Visitor Centre and wander the trails that lead to the Goblin Forest, Dawson Falls and Wilkies Pools
• Serving up the latest contemporary art from New Zealand and beyond, the Govett Brewster Art Gallery also offers lively event and school holiday programmes.
• Overnight camping expedition at one of the many great coastal campgrounds around the region
• Journey up the Mokau River on a river cruise
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