Taranaki Pioneer Village

Taranaki Pioneer Village is an outdoor museum experience representing a Taranaki Village from 1850 to 1950.

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The 10 acre property has over 40 original buildings dating back to 1853. Buildings onsite include the Tariki Railway Station (1903), Opunake Railway Station (1925), Stratford Courthouse (1895), Mangatoki Church (1904), Kaponga Jail (1914), and Pembroke School (circa 1930s).

There are also historic homesteads and many village shops including a bank, barber, bookbinder, butcher, chemist, cobbler, Doctors and dental surgery, drapery, grocery store, hardware store library, post office, and printshop.

There also also agricultural buildings, such as a dairy factory, forge and saddlery, barn, and cow shed.

All the buildings are set up inside with artefacts from pioneer times. The Pioneer Village also has live days where a barber, bookbinder, forge, and printshop operate.

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Library

The Pioneer Village also includes the Stratford Hospital Museum, which was developed after the closure of Stratford Hospital, and is run by a group of retired nurses.

There is a Pioneer Express train, which is based on Barclay shunting engine that would have been used in Stratford in the 1920’s. The train does two circuits of the perimeter of the Village. I recommend doing this first to get a layout of the Village.

During the summer months the Pioneer Village is open daily, during the winter months it is open Wednesday to Sunday. Check their website for current hours.

Taranaki Pioneer Village is located at 3912 Mountain Rd, Stratford.

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Pioneer Express Train and Opunake Railway Station

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Stratford Courthouse

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Kaponga Jail, Cobbler’s shop, and Police Station

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Mangatoki Church

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Pembroke School

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Barber

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New Plymouth Savings Bank

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Stratford Hospital Museum

Lake Mangamahoe

Lake Mangamahoe is a 262ha commercial production forest with a scenic park and lake.

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Lake Mangamahoe is popular for mountain biking, walking and running. There are also horse treks.

In 1932 Lake Mangamahoe was created by forming a dam across the valley and submerging 79 acres. The lake is named after the Mangamahoe stream, which flows into the lake.

The Lake Circuit walk will take approximately 1 hour 45 minutes. There is also the Hydro Road Track walk, which is 30 minutes, and a short five minute walk to the Mt. Taranaki Lookout.

Lake Mangamahoe is 10 minutes south of New Plymouth on State Highway 3. Access from Lake Road, at Kent Road Junction. During daylights savings the gate is open 7am to 8:30pm. Outside of daylight savings hours it is open 7am to 6pm.

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Pukekura Park

Pukekura Park is a Garden of National Significance in New Plymouth covering 52 hectares.

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Pukekura Park contains a range of landscaped gardens, lakes, exotic trees and walking paths through native bush.

It is also is full of history. The park opened in 1876 as a recreational reserve. At that time it was a stream valley full of gorse and wild bush.

In 1878 the main lake was formed by damming the Pukekura Stream that run through the park. In 1884 the ‘Poets Bridge’ was built across the lake. The original bridge was rebuilt in 1938 due to deterioration. Its red colour scheme is based on the Shinkyo Bridge in Nikko, Japan.

In 1888 a bandstand was erected and in 1897, to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, the drinking fountain was unveiled.

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Poets Bridge

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Drinking fountain and bandstand

In 1928 a fernery was built that today has more than 50,000 plants. The Tea House opened in 1931, which is operating today as Tea House on the Lake, it is open from 9am to 4pm.

There is a waterfall that opened in 1970. It has three main cascades. The highest is 10.6 metres. It uses water from the adjacent lake. Water at the foot of the waterfall is recycled through a pumphouse to a small pool at the top.

To celebrate the park’s centenary a water wheel was erected in 1976.

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Waterfall

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Water wheel

The park was named Pukekura Park in 1907 after the stream that run through the park.

Pukekura Park is also home to the Sports Grounds, TSB Bowl of Brooklands, and the the Brookland Zoo.

The main gate to Pukekura Park is at 10 Fillis Street, New Plymouth.

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Tūpare Gardens

Tūpare is a former private gardens open to the public in New Plymouth.

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Tūpare is a 3.6 hectare heritage property managed by the Taranaki Regional Council, which means it is open and free to the public to visit.

Businessman Sir Russell Matthews and his wife Mary purchased the property on on the edge of the Waiwhakaiho River in 1931. At that time it was covered in blackberry, gorse and bracken. They begun building a home and developing the landscape gardens.

The Tudor-style house was designed by James Chapman-Taylor. There was a disagreement between Matthews and Chapman-Taylor over the size of the dining room and Matthews ended the agreement. Matthews did follow the original plans and it took him 12 years to complete construction.

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Tūpare was purchased by the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust in 1984 and opened to the public.

The word tūpare means ‘garland of flowers’.

There are three suggested walking routes around Tūpare. The Boundary Trail circles around the property through Redwoods, bush and the garden. The Garden Walk criss-crosses through the main garden areas. The House Stroll is an easier walk through the some of the popular areas of the of the garden.

Dogs and bicycles are not permitted in the gardens.

The gardens are free to visit and are open 9am to 8pm during daylight savings and 9am to 5pm during the winter.

Tūpare is at 487 Mangorei Road, near the intersection with State Highway 3.

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Egmont National Park Visitor Centre

North Egmont Visitor Centre is a Department of Conservation run visitor information centre for Mt Taranaki and Egmont National Park region.

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The visitor’s centre has comprehensive displays about Egmont National Park’s volcanic, natural and human history.

There is a cafe and souvenir shop onsite. There are also several short walks from the Egmont National Park Visitor Centre.

The shortest is a 180 metre, 4 minute, one-way walk through bush to a viewing platform and historic camphouse. The viewing platform provides views of Taranaki, the coastline and on a clear today inland to the central North Island mountains of Ruapehu, Ngaruahoe and Tongariro.

The Ambury Monument Walk is a 380 metre, 10 minute walk past the historic Camphouse building to the Ambury Monument. The Ambury Monument, is a memorial to climber Arthur Ambury, who tragically lost his life on June 3rd 1918, in an attempt to save William Edwin Gourlay, who had slipped on ice. Both men died when they fell over the bluff.

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Ambury Monument

From the Ambury Monument Walk you can return the way who came or continue onto the Nature Walk. The Nature Walk is a 780 metre 15 minute loop walk through native bush.

There is also several slightly longer walks the Connett Loop Track (40 minute loop), Mangoraka Loop Track (30 minute loop), and the Ngatoto Loop Track (45 minute – 1 hour loop). Visit the Department of Conservation page to learn more.

The historic camphouse mentioned above is the oldest building in the Egmont National Park. It was originally a military barracks used in New Plymouth during the Taranaki Land Wars of the 1860s. It was moved to North Egmont in 1891 to use for accommodation.

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Mt Taranaki

Mount Taranaki or Mount Egmont is a dormant stratovolcano in the Taranaki region.

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Mt. Taranaki is around 120,000 years old and last erupted in 1775 AD. It is considered a dormant volcano rather than extinct.

At its highest point the mountain is 2,518 metres (8,261 feet). It has a secondary cone, Fanthams Peak, on the southern side, which is 1,966 metres (6,450 feet).

Captain Cook named the mountain Mount Egmont in 1770, after John Perceval, the 2nd Earl of Egmont. It was known as Mount Egmont until 1986 when it was ruled that Taranaki would be its second official name. It is most commonly known as Taranaki today. The surrounding national park is known as Egmont National Park.

Climbing to the summit should only be attempted by experienced trampers with appropriate gear.

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Paritutu Rock

Paritutu Rock is a volcanic remnant on the eastern end of New Plymouth’s harbour.

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Paritutu Rock, which sits between Ngamotu Beach and Back Beach, stands at 156 metres. It used to be taller, but the summit was flattened by Māori to make a level site for shelter and food storage pits.

There is a track on the northern side of the rock. It take approximately 15 minutes to reach the top.

The first section of the walk is series of steps. The rest of the walk there is a chain to help you climb.

The summit provides views of the city, the port, Sugar Loaf Island and the Tasman Sea.

Access to the carpark below Paritutu Rock is off Centennial Drive, New Plymouth.

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