Having a relaxed breakfast overlooking a beautiful garden, has to be one of life’s greatest pleasures. This is one of the many reasons we chose Hosking House in New Plymouth.  We really love its close location to Pukekura Park, one of New Zealand’s premier botanical gardens. This is we’re we headed to this morning. These gardens are made up of 128 acres of lush greenery. Michael is 6ft.3i, so this will give you some idea as to how huge these Punga ferns are.

Pukekura botanical gardens New Plymouth

This would have to be a favourite view in the gardens.  The sun filters so beautifully through the bush to the beautiful Tea House beyond.

Pukekura Park tearoom views

The Pure Ariki complex in New Plymouth’s centre proved to be a wonderful surprise. Here, you have a fabulous museum, library, Information Centre and exhibition, all under the same roof.  The setting for the Museum’s display of precious Maori Taonga (cultural treasures) is one of the best in New Zealand. Photos are prohibited in this area out of respect to the Maori culture. And that’s probably a good thing.  The atmosphere is incredibly atmospheric and the audio visuals are fascinating.

No matter how leisurely the pace, exploring new places can be tiring so we make a beeline for the cafes.  Since our visit, the cafe scene here has expanded dramatically.  You’ll get your pick of organica and gluten-free options.  And the coffee is serious.

Chaos Cafe 2

To walk off brunch, we headed off to the award-winning Coastal Walkway This 11km path makes up expansive sea-edge promenade. You”re bound to meet many friendly locals along the way.  Sstaring out to sea with your own private thoughts is so therapeutic.

New Plymouth Coastal Walkway

The 25 min drive out to the famous Pukeiti Rhododendron Park is a definite must-do. An afternoon stroll along it’s beautiful tracks will refresh the spirits. A helpful map is provided too and at this time of year the Rhododendrons are dripping with vibrant coloured blooms:

Rhododendrons New Plymouth

Here’s a handy hint, if you’re travelling to New Plymouth between 15 Dec and 25 Jan, you’ll be able to enjoy the Festival of Lights, a spectacular visual extravaganza involving the entire city.  It’s a romantic and joyful celebration:

Festival of lights bridge two

It”ll be an early start tomorrow. We’re leaving New Plymouth and starting a whole new adventure along The Forgotten Highway (PDF brochure) – a hidden Taranaki treasure.

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