FIFA U-20 World Cup host city: New Plymouth

New Plymouth – on the wild Taranaki coast - has a contrasting landscape and easily accessible, outdoor activities

Six FIFA U-20 World Cup games will be played at Yarrow Stadium - five pool matches and a Round 16 clash.

The stadium may have been named the third best rugby ground in the world, due to its distinctly Kiwi atmosphere and its sublime Mt Taranaki backdrop, but it was the city’s strong provincial sporting and events pedigree that grabbed the attention of FIFA representatives organising the tournament.

The Yarrow Stadium is sure to provide an exceptional platform to watch the future stars of football in action due to the stand's close proximity to pitch.

Unique environment

Majestic Mt Taranaki is located in New Zealand’s Egmont National Park. Here visitors can find many walks and alpine treks to embark on the mountain slopes.

The Kamahi track is an easy 10-minute nature walk, while the Poukai circuit is a three-day trek around the mountain. The Goblin Forest, on the southern slopes, showcases the mountain’s unique natural environment - a lush rainforest that thrives in the region's high rainfall and mild coastal climate, where hanging moss, ferns and gnarled tree trunks create a mystical ambience.

Surfers’ paradise

Taranaki has some of New Zealand’s best surf, and the south to north-facing coastline means the surf’s usually up somewhere.

The west coast’s consistent waves rival the world's best and provide a natural playground for surfers. Surf breaks on Surf Highway 45 range from fast sandy beaches to epic rocky points, and the geography provides constant surfing opportunities.

Culturally significant

Mt Taranaki, the solitary mountain that keeps watch over New Plymouth, is a spiritually important landmark for Māori - the indigenous people of New Zealand. Historic Māori pa / fortified villages dotted throughout Taranaki tell stories of the region’s culture and history.

Puke Ariki, on the New Plymouth waterfront, is an award-winning museum and library that holds more than 6,000 Māori taonga / treasures and tells Taranaki’s tales in an engaging way.

Scenic coastal route Surf Highway 45 passes historic battle zones and hilltop pa sites where visitors can learn first-hand about the region.

Forgotten World Highway

Known as one of the best scenic drives in New Zealand, the Forgotten World Highway gives visitors a glimpse into days gone by.

The 155km road journey follows ancient Māori trade routes and farm tracks once traversed by New Zealand pioneers. Rugged bush, untamed landscapes and spectacular scenery await, while over 30 historic points of interest can be found along the road to educate.

Part of the Forgotten World Highway can be undertaken in a three-hour self-drive scenic train link between the west coast and the Central Plateau.

Award-winning experience

Those wanting to experience New Plymouth with their feet firmly on the ground can do so on the award-winning Coastal Walkway.

The 11km path takes walkers on a journey along the edge of the sea, while the 83m long Te Rewa Bridge crossed during the walk conjures up images of a towering whale skeleton or a breaking wave.

Perfect for walking, cycling and enjoying the views of the rugged west coast, there could be no better way to relax the day away.

Dam dropping adventure

Just an hour out of New Plymouth, at Waingongoro River, Hawera, visitors can take part in one of the most interesting adventure sports - Dam Dropping.

This unique Kiwi tourism venture sees participants zip down a 30 foot, 100 year old dam spillway on the world’s first commercially sledged hydro dam. All participants are given specialised river equipment in order to take on the river. Guides also show how it’s done, performing awe-inspiring tricks on their white water sledges.

Fast Facts:

  • Whangamomona, the central township on the Forgotten World Highway, declared itself a republic in 1989.
  • Taranaki is often called the ‘garden of New Zealand’.
  • Taranaki is home to 10 of New Zealand’s 31 gardens of national significance.
  • ‘Ginger the cat’ became the first feline alpinist to climb Mt Taranaki unaided in 1917.
  • The iconic Windwand is a narrow red fibre glass tube, 200mm in diameter that stands 45 metres high on the foreshore of New Plymouth. Weighing approximately 900kg, the Wind Wand can bend at least 20 metres. It is the work of internationally renowned New Plymouth artist Len Lye.
  • Mt Tarakani doubled as Japan’s Mt Fuji for the Tom Cruise film The Last Samurai.