Day Seven – Local Flavour
Write a piece about a typically “local” experience from where you come from as though it’s an entry in a travel guide.
Discovering Taranaki via the Coast walkway.
When I said I’d be travelling to Taranaki whilst in New Zealand friends in London laughed and asked “the Naki? Why?” I was going with a friend who was from the region, so I couldn’t skip the place without seeming rude and insulting his home town. After spending 10 days in New Plymouth and travelling throughout the region, I have many answers to the “why” question to bring back with me, but the main one is the Coast Walkway. Almost 13 kilometers of stunning sea views, black sand beaches, a beautifully maintained walkway, and cute cafes and restaurants to rest your feet and enjoy a refreshing beverage.
The Coastal Walkway in New Plymouth is relatively new to the city. It was built just 15 years ago and keeps being expanded. When my friend left New Zealand for London it did not exist and he was amazed at how it has transformed the main city of New Plymouth.
Taranaki is a province that is a bit geographically cut off but fiercely and rightly proud of all that it has to offer. The golds that the region possesses, (white – equating to the milk from the dairy industry and black from oil and gas,) have helped create a vibrancy. Art museums, little theatres, a natural amphitheatre at the Bowl of Brooklands, gorgeous Pukekura park, cute cafes and lively restaurants all create a bustling vibe and energy for this small region.
But for me it’s the walkway that is the crown jewel. While there, I ran on it daily and loved the choice of making a left at the Wind Wand or a right depending on my mood. We ate and drank our way through both ends. The port area is where we spent many hours at an amazing little cafe called Manous with stunning views of the sunset and a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Further down near the surf clubs we had fish and chips after long swims in the ocean, listened to live music and wandered around a great market that could rival London any day.
It is such a breathe of fresh air when you discover a gem when travelling. When you discover something not in the guide book it becomes yours. (Taranaki does not even make it into the recommended trips in any of the big guide books.)
The coastal walkway feels like mine now and I truly think you could sort many of life’s or the world’s problems with a stroll or a run on its paths.
Well done the Naki!