With a population of just over 100,000 people, Taranaki is the 10th largest region by population for New Zealand and is the centre for energy production, particularly oil and gas, and for dairy farming.
Geographically, Taranaki has a unique setting going from world renown surf beaches in its west, through the fertile green countryside to the exquisitely shaped Mount Taranaki in the region centre.
The honour of the second-best region in the world to visit is the highest ever ranking for a New Zealand destination in Lonely Planet’s annual publication, and singles out Mount Taranaki’s Pouakai Crossing one-day walk and the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Len Lye Centre as the region’s unmissable experiences.
The Pouakai Crossing walk, which traverses the slopes of Mount Taranaki and the adjoining Pouakai Ranges, is building up to be one of New Zealand’s great one-day walks, requiring similar effort to the Tongariro Crossing, but with fewer visitor numbers – yet.
The Len Lye Centre opened as part of the long-standing Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in July 2015 and has blown away visitor forecasts, with even more coming to the region for the quintessential ‘selfie’ shot in the building’s mirror-like exterior.
Determined by an independent, international team of Lonely Planet travel experts, the award also praises the region’s museums, events – including the annual WOMAD music festival and TSB Festival of Lights – parks, and Surf Highway 45.
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