Wednesday, April 13th
I hopped on the smallest plane I’ve ever been on and flew an hour and twenty minutes north to New Plymouth. Why, you ask? I’ll get to it. First, I want to share my adventures in the Taranaki Region.
My flight with Air New Zealand was short and sweet. The plane sat 52 people, but the flight was not full. There was no security check point and they did not require my ID to board the flight. A bit odd, but “it’s the Kiwi way,” I was told.
After complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits (cookies), we were arriving in New Plymouth.
Taranaki is a beautiful region in the North Island of New Zealand that is largely successful from it’s farming and oil and gas industry.
It’s population is small, but the area is well-developed and has a very large, dormant volcano.
Mount Taranaki, or Mount Egmont, can be seen from just about everywhere. The massive volcano is 2,518 meters (8,261 feet) in height and looks like a beautifully painted backdrop in the sky.
After landing, I walked out into the parking lot and directly into my car rental. As I turned onto the main road, I immediately saw Mount Taranaki and gasped at its beauty. I was excited that over every hill and around every turn, I could see it peeking out over the city.
I immediately knew I would like it here.
About 10 minutes up the road, I arrived at my AirBnB. I quickly unpacked and researched the area. A few hours later, I was walking around downtown New Plymouth. Surprised to see it wasn’t all farmland, I admired the streets as it reminded me of Auckland but, less crowded and… cleaner…
I’m not saying Auckland is dirty, but New Plymouth had a very tranquil and fresh feel to it.
After a gigantic lunch at The Good Home, I suddenly felt exhausted and decided that would cap my adventures for the day.
Thursday, April 14th
I attended an interview for a reporter position with Taranaki Daily News. (Yes, this was the reason for my visit.) The interview went really well, I thought, and I left feeling upbeat and positive.
After a quick change, I headed out to explore more of the area.
As I drove up and down the hills along the coastline, I noticed the Sugarloaf Islands and literally screamed in excitement.
I had almost forgot where I was. I’m in New Zealand! It’s beautiful here! I guess I forgot since living in Christchurch. Don’t get me wrong, Christchurch is great, but it’s a little flat and bland at times. Taranaki reminded me I was in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
I had performed a quick scan on Trip Advisor to find a decent spot for lunch and ended up at Okurukuru Winery. I didn’t know it was a winery until I arrived and noticed the lush, rolling hills of green.
I sat outside in the warm sun, overlooking the ocean and my heart felt so full. I knew I just had to live here. Oh, I hope I get this job!
I devoured a most delicious meal comprised of beef cutlet, jus, broccoli purée and gnocchi paired with an Okurukuru red wine. I know, I know. Who drinks red wine in the hot sun?
After lunch, I drove over to Te Rewa Rewa Bridge; an architecturally beautiful bridge along the New Plymouth Coastal Walkway (an ≈ eight mile path popular for walking, running and biking).
Obviously I wanted to continue down the pathway, but I figured I didn’t have enough time and there was plenty more to see!
A few more pictures later, I was back in the car and heading over to Back Beach for a better view of the Sugarloaf Islands.
On the way there, I noticed a turn-off and was able to pull over to gaze in wonder.
Pictures do not do this place justice.
A few minutes later, I found myself at Back Beach with my toes squishing in the soft, black sand, looking on towards the islands.
The sun, inching closer and closer to the horizon, only motivated me to sightsee more hastily as I decided to scramble up Mount Taranaki before the daylight disappeared completely.
The sunset cast a shade of purple and pink on the top of the volcano as I drove up narrow, windy roads towards the top. Luckily, I made it to the North Egmont Visitor Centre just in time for sunset!
Although the colors were spectacular, the view wasn’t so extraordinary. (Though, I’m assuming they are if you hike around.)
The sky, made up of pinks and purples, quickly darkened as I descended the grand switchbacks of Egmont Road.
Before calling it a night, I stopped by the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery to see the “Len Lye: Four Fountains” exhibition. Not exciting. However, the architecture of the art gallery was so exquisite! I would have loved to see it during the daytime!
Just around the corner, I stopped in to The Hour Glass for a local brew and some tapas as I smiled at my adventures and hoped to return for more.
The following morning, I arrive at the airport 30 minutes before my flight. This airport was even smaller than the one in Christchurch. I could have arrived 10 minutes before my flight and be good to go!
…. So awesome ….
A quick trip later, followed by some incredible views, I was back in Christchurch with Dan while my mind, and heart, was in Taranaki.
If I didn’t sell you on the area, watch this silly video by Ben Hurley:
Wednesday, April 20th
I received one of the most important calls in my life.
I was offered the position with Taranaki Daily News!
In just a few weeks, I will officially be a reporter… in New Zealand! I am beyond excited.
And the cherry on top?
I get to live in Taranaki.
“The one and only.”
Until next time,