Awesome Activities in Stratford, New Zealand
This New Zealand town deserves more than just a quick glance. Situated in the heart of the Taranaki region, Stratford is a quirky town rich in history, is one of the main centres of the outstanding Egmont National Park, and has a Shakespeare obsession. On top of that, the town is the gateway to the intriguing Forgotten World Highway and surrounded by a wealth of hiking trails to delve deeper into the land. So get inspired for your trip to Stratford-Upon-Patea with this list of fun things to do in Stratford, Taranaki!
While you’re here, you might also be interested in 6 Towns You Can’t Miss in South Taranaki.
1. See New Zealand’s Only Glockenspiel
Let’s begin with the pride of the town: the Stratford Glockenspiel! Playing every day at 10am, 1pm, 3pmand 7pm, the Glockenspiel chimes and performs a short reenactment of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in commemoration to the town being named after the birthplace of Shakespeare. Watch the figurines appearing at many different hidden windows of the Glockenspiel throughout the performance.
2. Visit the Hollard Gardens
Explore a diverse range of native and exotic plants at the 5-star Hollard Gardens as rated by the New Zealand Gardens Trust! This dairy farm has been transformed into a lush garden of meandering walkways. Pick up a map from the visitor centre and enjoy the complimentary tea and coffee. See more gardens worth checking out in the area with our 10 Best Parks & Gardens in Taranaki.
Location: Upper Mahia Road, Kaponga
3. Check Out the Percy Thomson Gallery
Get your culture fix at the Percy Thomson Gallery. This contemporary art gallery has an ever-changing program of exhibitions, so who knows what work you’ll see on your visit. All we know is that it’s a popular attraction with the locals who just keep coming back.
Location: Prospero Place, 56 Miranda Street
4. Do a Road Trip Down the Forgotten World Highway
Stratfordmarks one end of State Highway 43, otherwise known as the Forgotten World Highway. The highway traces the history of the region’s early pioneers into the isolated countryside of the Taranaki region. The highway is 155km leading to Taumarunui, passing through rough tunnels, the scenic Tangarakau Gorge and the quirky Republic of Whangamomona! For those feeling adventurous, the Matemateonga Track is a 3-4 day hike off the Forgotten World Highway near Stratford leading into the Whanganui National Park. Find out more in our 10 Unforgettable Things to Do in the Whanganui National Park.
Location: State Highway 43
5. Go for a Walk in the Egmont National Park
Stratford is the closest main centre to the breathtaking Egmont National Park. There are more than 200km of walking trails through the 33,500ha park brimming with dense forest, alpine scrub and the central volcanic cone of Mt Taranaki. One of the easier walk access points from Stratford is the Stratford Mountain House where you’ll find the 15-minute Kamahi Track winding through the moss-covered “Goblin Forest”. There’s also the 2-3 day Pouakai Circuit offering varying landscapes. Find out more in our 6 Hikes You Have to Do in Egmont National Park!
Location: Walks are accessible from the Dawson Falls Visitor Centre, Stratford Mountain House & the Stratford Plateau
6. Step Back in Time at Pioneer Village
South of Stratford town is an attraction that’s fun for all ages, the Taranaki Pioneer Village. This unique outdoor museum features 10 acres of historic buildings, railway and collections of memorabilia. Visit the jailhouse, railway station, court, hospital, school and more by either walking or taking the mini-railway around the village. There is a cafe on-site too.
Location: State Highway 3, south of Stratford
7. Play Golf at the Stratford Golf Club
Get into New Zealand’s most popular sport (in terms of the highest participation rate) at the Stratford Golf Club! The 18-hole par-70 golf course is an easy-walking course offering tremendous mountain views in between the trees lining the fairways. There are around 20 other golf courses around the Stratford area within 40 minutes drive should you get hooked.
Location: Pembroke Road
8. Walk the Cardiff Centennial Walk
Enjoy a tranquil riverside walk along the Cardiff Centennial Walk. The 1h30min loop walk has a number of interpretation panels explaining the history of the area. Cross a swingbridge above the crystal clear waters and climb up to vantage points with great views of Mt Taranaki, the historic settlement of Cardiff, and the Matemateaonga Range.
Location: Opunake Road
9. Take a Stroll Around King Edward Park
Located in the heart of Stratford, King Edward Park has a mix of gardens and landscapes. Check out the McCullough Rhododendron Dell, the native bush with a swing bridge crossing the Patea River, sports fields and more. The park is part of the 1h-4h30min Carrington Walkway which follows the river.
Location: Access from Page Street, Fenton Street, Regan Street and Portia Street.
10. Shop and Have a Coffee in Stratford Town
Stratford, after all, is a town and one of the main centres of the Taranaki region. There are a number of shops from boutiques to national chains, as well as op shops. You’ll also find quirky cafes/art galleries.
Location: Stratford town centre