Stratford District has a varied and interesting history. Its location, coupled with climate and a hardworking ethic, has turned it into a vibrant farming community, with a focus on dairy farming.
Stratford offers the best access points to the iconic Mt Taranaki. Mt Taranaki is a cone-shaped 2518m high peak that offers spectacular scenery. There are beautiful walks through the abundant rain forest to waterfalls, wetlands and excellent viewpoints. Standing as it does in isolation from other mountains it is one of the best parks from which to get an elevated view of another New Zealand - the rural heartland of the Taranaki.
There are some 300kms of walking tracks in the Park from short walks up to the five-day ‘Round the Mountain’ walk. Short walks can take you to some of the most scenic waterfalls and areas of the Park. For example, the 15-minute Kamahi Track from the Mountain House goes straight into the heart of the rainforest where heavy lichen and moss grow on kamahi trees, creating the famous Goblin Forest.
Stratford is also the gateway to the Forgotten World Highway, a 150km long and highly memorable driving or cycling journey that explores the ever-changing landscape between Stratford and Taumaranui. This is one of this country's most secluded roads, New Zealand's first Heritage Trail, and explores a scenic route that winds over four mountain saddles, alongside the spectacular Tangarakau Gorge and passes through the 180-metre-long single-lane Moki Tunnel.
View stunning vistas of Mt Taranaki's zen-like cone to the west; and Mt Ruapehu, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro to the west. Other highlights include a 30 minute short walk to Damper falls, the North Island's highest waterfall, and onto Whangamomona, a small village declared a 'republic' by residents and the local goat back in 1988.
Stratford's glockenspiel is unique to New Zealand and plays a delightfully romantic scene from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet four times daily (10am, 1pm, 3pm and 7pm).
All streets in Stratford are named after Shakespearean plays and characters. An interesting connection to explore.
Stratford is family-friendly and offers a number of other attractions too: Taranaki Pioneer Village, TET King's Theatre (the first movie theatre in the Southern Hemisphere to show 'talkies'), Percy Thomson Art Gallery and an indoor swimming pool, not to mention various easy walks to heritage spots and along bush-clad rivers and streams. A breath of fresh air!
- Last Updated: Thursday, 12 June 2014 03:52