Taranaki is my second home. No matter where I’ve lived in NZ, Taranaki has always been the spot that called me home to my wider family. Both sides of my family come from this area, so I know it well. That being said, until I started taking an interest in photography, I’m not sure I had appreciated just how photogenic it actually is. Firstly there’s the show-stopping centrepiece of the region, Mount Taranaki – although blink and you may miss it with so many days where it is under its cloak of cloud.
There’s also the Cape Egmont lighthouse out west which makes a captivating foreground if you can manage to catch a shot of it when the mountain is in view, or Lake Mangamahoe which also provides a great view of the mountain with a reflection if you’re lucky. But the best views are generally if you can get up on the mountain itself, with one of the most popular spots being the Pouakai Tarns for some amazing mountain reflections. It took me two trips and a night sleeping rough beside the tarn but I finally got the shot I wanted on my last visit!
With so many great surf beaches, along the coastline, you can catch a great sunset at Back Beach with the Sugarloaf Islands or Paritutu in shot, and there’s the little known Gairloch shipwreck which provides added interest to a seascape photo further down the coast. The famous Tongaporutu landmarks of the Three Sisters are also within an hour’s drive but sadly they aren’t quite as fascinating now the Elephant Rock has succumbed to erosion. Within the city centre itself, there’s also Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, Lake Rotomanu and Pukekura Park to provide ample opportunities for photographic variety.