My boyfriend wanted to go see a car this weekend in New Plymouth which is on the west coast of the North Island, a place we hadn’t been before. Matter of fact, we’ve never seen the west coast up here yet, so it was a good excuse to take the four and a half hour drive over for the night. The car was a bust, so we got in as much as we could for the short visit.
Because we left so early, there was a plethora of rainbows all morning which I felt gave us a positive vibe to the weekend ahead. However, it was a bit disturbing that this was the third wreck we saw in a matter of two hours on this seemingly calm stretch of road.
We travelled through a few small towns, looking like every other town in New Zealand, pretty much. Before we knew it, Mt. Taranaki came into view, shrouded in clouds.
We stopped for a rest at a school which had a great view, but it was still too cloudy to see the top. I eventually snapped a picture and it was quite magnificent. The last eruption was mid 1800’s. It is allegedly still active.
We finally saw the sign for New Plymouth and crested the hill to see the ocean.
We popped into the dealership, took the car for a short drive and came back with a list of problems. Him not wanting to look at any other cars that day, I quickly got on Trip Advisor to see what there was to do.
Well, you know me…bring on the parks with trees and flowers. I was blown away to see two large angel trumpet trees and headed straight toward them.
I didn’t have much time to shove my nose in those when he announced that a parrot just flew by. I said, “Noooooo…there aren’t parrots here!” How wrong I was. I figured maybe they escaped from the zoo nearby, so I had to see this with my own eyes. Sure enough…parrots.
After doing some research, I found that these Eastern Rosella parrots were brought over from Oz and that they didn’t venture too far from where they had been released. I’ve gotten reports from friends up north that they have them there. Oddly enough, some were released down in Dunedin on the South Island (where it’s way colder) and are surviving! Totally crazy. The pair flew off and we walked toward the dark forest path.
The call of Tui’s and other birds I wasn’t used to hearing echoed throughout the lush forest, with the sun being so drowned out, you would’ve thought night was approaching.
We came across a huge Puriri tree which claimed to be well over 2000 years old! I was surprised it wasn’t rotted out as you could see right through it at the base of the trunk.
There were super tall tree ferns everywhere and their new fronds looked like monkey tails.
We wandered out near the ampitheatre where a mama and her two ducklings hung out in the water.
There was a small pond off to the side covered with lilly pads. The Tui’s were eating something in the trees above us and I tried to get pictures of them, but they didn’t come out very well.
The white feathers on their necks always remind me of Taika Waititi when he played a vampire in ‘What We Do in the Shadows.’
The sweet little fan tails were about, too and they are notoriously hard to take pictures of. These cuties will fly very close to you while you’re out walking and chirp away, saying something really important, I’m sure!
A bit more walking took us through gorgeous fields of flowers and flowering vines like this one. Wish I had it at my house!
The day not nearly over yet, we headed out to the ocean to see the black sand beaches. I read there was a long walkway (about 13km, I think) but we weren’t about to walk all of it. Instead, we found a short section and walked until we got to the Surf Club, which I thought would have a bar, but it didn’t.
The day wasn’t over yet! Another look at TripAdvisor for a place to eat surprisingly brought up an American Diner! WHAT!?!? Just when I had complained I didn’t get to a greasy spoon in the States, here’s one in New Zealand!! I swear, I’ve never seen one here before. Apparently it was owned by a Canadian. We HAD to go. My waistline was screaming NOOOOOO! Don’t get a chocolate milkshake! Except, I did.
I also saw a Philly Cheesesteak on there, but in my haste, I didn’t notice it also said ‘Cuban Sandwich’ which to me, are two very different things. When I ordered, a large party of kids were being quite loud and the waitress was having trouble hearing me. So when it arrived, it looked nothing like a Philly C.S. and she said something like, “Here’s your Cuban sandwich.” Ahhh bummer. But when I looked back at the menu, it really was this weird combo of the two. It wasn’t bad, just not what I expected. $45 later, lunch was done and I was hating myself for eating like that. Oh well…gotta indulge sometimes!
By this time, we were ready to enter a comatose state so had a rest for a while. Checking TA once again, I saw there was a cool bridge that I wanted to go see at sunset to get some pictures. I dragged my poor boyfriend out again to go see it.
It reminded me of a whale carcass with the ribs sticking up. Te Rewa Rewa is a suspension bridge so it moved quite a bit as people walked on it. Not realizing you could see Mt. Taranaki (I jokingly started calling it Mount Teriyaki), it was a bonus to get some pictures of that in as well.
Not wanting to completely call it a day, we went out to a pub for a couple of drinks and to feed the pokie machine $5, of which, I received nothing in return.
Not wanting to leave too late the next day, I wanted to see if we could find the parrots again, go take pictures of the reflection building which was part of the art museum, check out the free zoo (which was in that same park as the parrots) and drop into the free museum near the waterfront.
Unfortunately, I brought the wrong charger for my camera battery and had to rely on my phone to do the rest. That meant there would be no good pictures of the parrots (we saw 6 of them that morning).
The little zoo was fantastic! They had monkeys, otters, meerkats, llamas and a flight house with birds.
We headed to the museum after that which was nicely laid out (and FREE)! Of course I was interested in the natural history. The shark was a reproduction of a megaladon.
This is a Kakapo – it’s also called a night parrot or owl parrot. You may have seen these birds on a TV show that talked about how they make these deep thumping noises to attract a mate. They are nocturnal, flightless and endemic to NZ, living up to 90 years. Unfortunately, there are only a little over 100 left. This a good page where you can read more and listen to the noise they make.
And with that, we were back in the car to head home. On the way, we saw this car with the license place ‘TWOODS’ and kidded that maybe he really DOES drive a Honda now. We confirmed when passing, it was definitely not Tiger.
Relieved to finally be back in Central Hawke’s Bay with the familiar view of the Ruahine Ranges.
It was a fun, fast trip and the search for a car continues!
0 thoughts on “Wild Surprises in New Plymouth”
Ahhh it all makes sense now – you stayed the night there! Hope you didn’t have to sleep in the car!
Hah no…got a good “deal” on a motel at $100. I swear you can’t find anything here for less than that unless you stay at a hostel. And those are up there, too!
Sounds like a very happy trip! Great photos – there’s a couple there of Mt Taranaki I would be VERY stoked to have taken! And those tui photos are pretty good too!
Thanks, Prue! Yeah, from what I gather, the ‘Naki is usually hidden. I’m glad we were able to see the top a few times!
Stunning images, Steph! You’ve inspired me to add a DSLR and photography lessons to my bucket list.
Well thank you! That’s quite the compliment. I really need to get an DSLR again myself…nothing beats the clarity.