Seen from the summit the green fertile lowlands below are threaded with roads and dotted with toy-like towns and the coast is rugged and wild. It’s a place where you can go snowboarding in the morning and surfing the same afternoon. The region offers a huge range of outdoor activities. You can take a gentle stroll through cool native forest or embark on a multi-day hike. There’s river rafting, ocean surfing, and winter snow sports in Taranaki, New Zealand. Or experience the thrill of riding down the historic Normanby hydro dam – a locally invented adrenaline rush. If you fancy a little less adventure, walk the New Plymouth coastal walkway and see the Wind Wand, conceived by the pioneering kinetic artist, Len Lye. There are art trails, festivals and award-winning museums and galleries and a thriving café culture. Pay a visit to one of the last working lighthouses in New Zealand, the Cape Egmont lighthouse. And there are gardens. Walk the parks and gardens in the rhododendron season and they are a beauty to behold. Originally settled by the descendants of ancient Polynesia, Taranaki enjoys a mild climate and among the highest number of sunshine hours in the country. The region’s laidback vibe and friendly locals attract visitors with the promise of invigorating activities, unique landscapes and rich history.