Media Releases

01 December 2022: The Waikato to Taranaki Way launched today, A Mighty Road Journey - Like No Other

Venture Taranaki/Te Puna Umanga, the regional development agency, and Hamilton & Waikato Tourism have launched today ‘The Waikato to Taranaki Way’ road journey to encourage visitors and road trippers to discover new experiences while travelling along State Highway 3.

The Waikato to Taranaki Way is a newly curated map and itinerary for an easy, self-driving journey along the west coast of the North Island from Port Waikato to Back Beach / Paritutu in Taranaki. The itinerary recommends a number of activities and attractions, to discover local stories and facts, places of cultural significance, and stunning views along the way.

Hamilton & Waikato Tourism, Chief Executive, Nicola Greenwell says the road journey concept was born out of the acknowledgement that the two regions have great synergies and the itinerary offers a fantastic alternative journey through the central North Island.

“This is the first time we have worked together on a project of this type, and we’re excited to see visitors exploring our special part of New Zealand,” says Greenwell. 

Venture Taranaki, GM Destination, Brylee Flutey agrees, “Taranaki and Waikato are full of intriguing places, engrossing stories, and memorable moments for visitors and locals alike and this new map will help travellers discover hidden gems and realise the drive between these destinations is an experience like no other.”

“The map will inspire you with ideas, from stunning walking tracks at Ngāruawāhia, Pirongia and Mount Damper to iconic eateries like the Fat Pigeon Café in PioPio and The Bratwurst Bros Uruti stop. For those who are keen to get off the main road, you’ll even find details for a hot water beach, underground glowworm caves, to an ancient volcanic crater with 360° views of New Plymouth and Maunga Taranaki in the distance,” continues Flutey.

The Waikato to Taranaki Way was developed collaboratively with key stakeholders, including iwi from both regions, where their ideas and input were sought about the meaningful locations to include on the map.

“If you’re planning a visit to Waikato or Taranaki or you’ve got friends or family coming to visit, we encourage you to spread the word and download The Waikato to Taranaki Way before you hit the road, and make your journey one to remember,” concludes Greenwell.

Hard copy maps will soon be available at i-SITES and a range of businesses on the drive journey, or you can view and download a copy here or


The Waikato to Taranaki Way is a joint venture between Venture Taranaki (VT) and Hamilton & Waikato Tourism (HWT). Both agencies identified within their strategic plans drive journeys with neighbouring regions as an opportunity for visitor sector growth.

The Waikato to Taranaki Way was also born from the ‘Designing the Visitor Futures of Taranaki’ report that VT released in July 2021. The report used a future-focused, user-centric approach to identify future areas of opportunity that our visitor sector can leverage when developing existing visitor experiences or looking at new initiatives to attract people to the region. The report identified four provocations: Eat the Region, Tailored Taranaki, Voyage with Us, and All Inclusive.

Drive journeys, and The Waikato to Taranaki Way, fall within the ‘Voyage with Us’ provocation and focuses on a growing segment of travellers seeking to explore new destinations, our people, our environments, and culture on a deeper level.

Prior to the Waikato Destination Management Plan, the Hamilton & Waikato Tourism Opportunities Plan (TOP) identified the tourism opportunities that have the greatest potential to drive sustainable growth and dispersal throughout the region. A west coast themed-drive itinerary was suggested as a potential development in the TOP to showcase a variety of experiences, attractions and accommodation in this area of the Waikato that visitors could enjoy depending on their personal preferences.

The Waikato to Taranaki Way is a MBIE funded project through the Government’s Strategic Tourism Asset Protection Programme/Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Re-set Plan.