We meant to drop by New Plymouth as a pitstop as we made our way up North after the drive down Forgotten World Highway. But we quickly found out the town had so much more to offer and on hindsight, we should have spent more than 2 nights there.
The Airbnb we stayed in made it even harder to leave with Judy’s fantastic hospitality and comfortable beds; we even got to experience picking avocados for the first time! And also embarrassingly found out how lacking in bio knowledge we were when we asked why are male avocado trees grown when their fruit weren’t sought after..
Being in a coastal town, we ran into days with strong gusts of wind. That didn’t stop us from exploring the town, especially with Judy extending her hospitality to bring us and her Woofer around town.
Then we came across Bowl of Brooklands, an outdoor venue with a grassy amphitheatre. It wasn’t the impressive stage which caught my eye though, my eyes lit up when I saw ducks racing across the pond to a man feeding them with bread. If you can’t tell, I have an obsession with ducks..
Judy also recommended popping by The Fernery in the park where we found more variety of plants sheltered under the glasshouse. Don’t be fooled by the exterior – the space was much bigger than it looked and we took more time than expected to explore the place.
One of the beauty of staying in an Airbnb is when you’re lucky enough to meet a fantastic host who not only shares hidden gems in their backyard, but brings you to it. Located along the town’s famous 10km Coastal Walkway is Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, and we definitely wouldn’t have made our way here without Judy.
Back to the Coastal Walkway – during our research on things to do in New Plymouth, the walkway was heavily featured and was marketed as an award-winning path. I had my doubts then, but having been there, it’s definitely one of my favourite part of town.
Climbing Mount Taranaki, or also known as Mount Egmont, is probably one of the top things to do when in New Plymouth. I was rather unwillingly to climb another mountain after the Tongariro experience, but Judy recommended us to climb up midpoint where we could get a view of the peak.
It started out as a sunny day, and we were hopeful that we would get to see the snow-capped peak, but as always, you can never predict Mother Nature and the peak remained shrouded in clouds the entire time we were there.
We managed to explore New Plymouth on a shoestring budget, having spent nothing on the activities mentioned above. The only meal we indulged in was at Mayfair, where we were seduced in by their live music (only to have it end slightly after we sat down). But all’s good when the food’s good.
I doubt we would ever make it back to New Plymouth, but I’ll never forget the warm hospitality we received at Judy’s and the thrill of picking our own avocados for the first time. Being on New Plymouth on a shoestring didn’t mean we got anything less of an experience, in fact we got a whole lot more than we bargained for.