26 Oct 2016
Definitive global travel guide publisher Lonely Planet has judged Taranaki the second best region in the world to visit in its Best in Travel 2017 yearbook, an accolade that is being welcomed by the locals.
The honour represents the highest ever ranking for a New Zealand destination in Lonely Planet’s annual Best in Travel publication, and singles out Mount Taranaki’s Pouakai Crossing one-day walk and the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Len Lye Centre as unmissable experiences.
Determined by an independent and international team of Lonely Planet travel experts, the award also praises the region’s museums, events – including the annual WOMAD music festival and TSB Festival of Lights, parks and Surf Highway 45.
While Taranaki being ranked in the top 10 regions in the world to visit in 2017, let alone at number 2, may come as a surprise to many in New Zealand, it’s no surprise to Taranaki’s leaders, says regional spokesperson New Plymouth District Councillor, Stacey Hitchcock.
“As Lonely Planet notes, Taranaki is a little bit out there and that’s part of our secret. We’re not afraid to do things at the edge, whether that’s making major events happen, building world-class art galleries or presenting spectacular outdoor experiences.”
“The region offers something amazing for everyone, all with a backdrop of a legendary landscape. This award reflects that and will help the world to discover Taranaki.”
The Len Lye Centre opened as part of the long-standing Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in July 2015, and has blown away visitor forecasts, with even more coming to the region for the quintessential ‘selfie’ shot in the building’s mirror-like exterior.
The Pouakai Crossing walk, which traverses the slopes of Mount Taranaki and the adjoining Pouakai Ranges, is building up to be one of New Zealand’s great one-day walks, requiring similar effort to the Tongariro Crossing, but with fewer visitor numbers – yet.
Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017 says:
“From dairy farms to legendary surf breaks, the region’s natural assets have long been envied. But in recent years a powerful arts and cultural set has elbowed its way to the fore, sustaining New Plymouth’s notable Puke Ariki Museum and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, and one of the world’s finest music festivals – WOMAD – held in pretty Pukekura Park. Now that New Plymouth has its own answer to the Guggenheim – the hard-won and community funded Len Lye Centre – the stage is set for Taranaki’s star to shine.”
Specific attractions highlighted by Lonely Planet include:
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre
Mount Taranaki, Egmont National Park, and the Pouakai Crossing one-day walk
Puke Ariki Museum
Pukekura Park – the expansive central New Plymouth park
New Plymouth shopping and dining
Surf Highway 45 – the 105km touring route around Taranaki’s coast
WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance festival), 17 – 19 March 2017
TSB Bank Festival of Lights, 18 December 2016 – 5 February 2017.
Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2017: lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel
Taranaki images can be found at: http://www.taranaki.info/gallery/
For further information contact: Antony Rhodes, Venture Taranaki, 0274 544 075.
"Now that New Plymouth has its own answer to the Guggenheim – the hard-won and community funded Len Lye Centre – the stage is set for Taranaki’s star to shine.”