What to Do in Hawera, Taranaki
The largest hub of South Taranaki is a must-see while travelling through the Taranaki region! Aside from taking a photo with the large cow sculpture outside of the Fonterra Factory – one of New Zealand’s largest companies, Hawera has a multitude of attractions on offer from the climbing the historic water tower to relaxing in one the town’s picturesque parks. Take a peek inside Hawera’s characterful museums or head down to the beach to embrace the rugged coastal scenery. There’s something for everyone on this list of things to do in Hawera.
While you’re here, you might also be interested in 10 Taranaki Must-Dos and 18 Places to Stop at on Taranaki’s Surf Highway 45.
1. Climb the Hawera Water Tower
An iconic structure of the town, the Hawera Water Tower is not just an attraction to snap up photos of but is open to the public! Pay a small entrance fee at the i-SITE then climb a spiral staircase to the top revealing spectacular views over Hawera, the Tasman Sea and Mt Taranaki.
Location: High Street
2. Walk the Gladstone Walkway
Sure, this might only be a 10-minute walk but is a great reason to stretch your legs in Hawera. The Gladstone Walkway passes through farmland, an ancient pa site (fortified Maori village), follows a gentle stream, and features magnolia and rhododendron plantations.
Location: 87 Gladstone Street
3. Have a Picnic in King Edward Park
One of Taranaki’s best-loved parks, King Edward Park is an excellent place to stop for a picnic, smell the roses and watch locals sail their model boats on the mini lake. There is a statue commemorating a pioneer of the town, as well as a Wendy statue as a companion to the Peter Pan statue on display at Hyde Park in London, UK. Take the time to wander the different gardens and discover the park’s other hidden quirks. For more parks to discover in the area, take a look at 10 Must-See Parks & Gardens in Taranaki.
Location: High Street
4. Stroll Along the Nowell’s Lakes Walkway
Another spectacular place to get outside in Hawera is along Nowell’s Lakes, two ground-fed lakes trapped in a sand dune belt. The walk has native tree plantations and leads to another walk which heads to the coast. The Nowell’s Lakes Walkway takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.
Location: Rifle Range Road
5. Check Out the Tawhiti Museum
One of the most unique museums in the country, the Tawhiti Museum depicts the history of South Taranaki through scale and miniature models created by local artist, Nigel Ogle. Figurines have been cast by real-life models making for a lively display of the region’s past industries, colonial domestic life and Maori village life. The museum is open Friday to Monday in summer and Sundays in winter. See more museums in the region in our 10 Best Galleries & Museums in Taranaki.
Location: 401 Ohangai Road
6. Visit the Lysaght Watt Gallery
Get your culture fix at the town’s community art gallery, the Lysaght Watt Gallery. Exhibits change monthly showcasing the work of Taranaki and New Zealand artists. The gallery is open Monday to Saturday.
Location: 6 Union Street
7. Pop into the K.D’s Elvis Presley Museum
For something a little quirky, check out K.D’s Elvis Presley Museum. This private collection owned by Kevin D Wasley displays Elvis Presley memorabilia collected since 1959. Entry is by appointment and donation.
Location: 51 Argyle Street
8. Venture Down the Tangahoe Valley Road to Lake Rotorangi
A pleasant outing awaits on a road trip down the Tangahoe Valley to New Zealand’s longest lake! While Lake Rotorangi is popular for boating and water skiing, those who prefer to stick to dry land can sit down for picnic or camp at the Tangahoe Valley campsite. Check out Where to Camp in South Taranaki for more information.
Location: Tangahoe Valley Road, 28km from Hawera
9. Go to Ohawe Beach
If you’re craving a bit of time by the beach, Ohawe Beach is one of the best beaches in the Hawera area. The black-sand beach is a great example of the rugged Taranaki coastline, making it a super place to stop for lunch or walk along the beach. There is also a campground, should you want to fall asleep listening to the waves.
Location: Rangatapu Street, Ohawe, 8km from Hawera
10. Catch the Hawera Market
Mingle with the locals and buy local produce, arts and crafts at the Hawera Market. Catch the market at the Town Square on Saturday mornings.
Location: Town Square