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Taranaki is a region west of New Zealand's North Island, administered by the Taranaki Regional Council. It is named for its main geographical feature, the stratovolcano of Mount Taranaki. The main centre is the city of New Plymouth. The New Plymouth District has over 65% of the population of Taranaki. New Plymouth is in North Taranaki, along with Inglewood and Waitara. South Taranaki towns include Hawera, Stratford and Eltham.

Taranaki is on the North Island's west coast, surrounding the volcanic peak. The region has an area of 7258 square km. The large bays north-west and south-west of Cape Egmont are the prosaically named North Taranaki Bight and South Taranaki Bight.

Mount Taranaki, or Mount Egmont, the second-highest mountain in the North Island, is the dominant feature of the region. A Maori legend says that Taranaki previously lived with the Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu mountains of the central North Island but fled to its current location after a battle with Tongariro. A near-perfect cone, it last erupted in the mid-18th century. The mountain and its immediate surroundings form Egmont National Park.

Maori had called the mountain Taranaki for many centuries. Captain James Cook renamed it Egmont after the Earl of Egmont, the recently retired First Lord of the Admiralty who had encouraged his expedition. The mountain has two alternative official names, Mount Taranaki and Mount Egmont.

The region is exceptionally fertile, thanks to generous rainfall and the rich volcanic soil. Dairy farming predominates, with Fonterra's Whareroa milk factory just outside of Hawera producing the most significant volume of dairy ingredients from a single factory anywhere in the world. The way the land mass projects into the Tasman Sea with northerly, westerly and southerly exposures results in many excellent surfing and windsurfing locations, some considered world-class.

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Suppose you're planning a trip to Taranaki, New Zealand. In that case, several significant areas will provide easy access to the region's natural beauty, adventure activities, and cultural attractions. Here are some of the top spots to consider:

New Plymouth: This coastal city is the largest in Taranaki and offers many city amenities and outdoor adventure opportunities. Stay near the beach to enjoy seaside strolls and water sports, or opt for a spot near the central business district near restaurants, bars, and cultural attractions.

Mount Taranaki: If you're looking to get up close and personal with Taranaki's famous mountain, consider staying in one of the many small towns surrounding it. Stratford and Inglewood are popular choices, as they offer easy access to hiking trails, scenic drives, and local farm tours.

Hawera: This charming town in southern Taranaki is known for its art galleries, historic sites, and boutique shopping. It's also an excellent base for exploring the Tawhiti Museum and the Kaponga Loop Track, which offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Opunake: For a quieter, more laid-back experience, head to the coastal town of Opunake. Here, you'll find rugged beaches, excellent fishing opportunities, and a relaxed pace of life perfect for a getaway.

Stratford: This small town in the heart of Taranaki is known for its Shakespearean connections and charming architecture. It's a great spot to stay if you're interested in exploring the region's history or looking for a peaceful base from which to explore the wider area.

No matter where you stay in Taranaki, you'll be treated to breathtaking views, friendly locals, and a wealth of outdoor and cultural activities. Book your trip today and explore this beautiful part of New Zealand.

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