The small but bustling city of New Plymouth, on the northern shore of the peninsula, is the commercial heart of Taranaki and renowned New Zealand-wide for its concerts and arts festivals. Port Taranaki, at the edge of the city, serves as New Zealand’s western gateway and is the only deep-water international port on the west coast. There’s a strong arts and gardens bias to its attractions, though it is a pleasure just to be in.

Just offshore is the Sugar Loaf Islands Protected Area, a haven for wildlife above and beneath the sea.