The city of New Plymouth, on the northern shore of the peninsula, is the commercial heart of Taranaki, bustling with prosperity and bristling with a sense of importance. Port Taranaki, at the edge of the city, serves as New Zealand's western gateway and is the only deep-water international port on the west coast. That said this is still a small city with a tight grid of central streets flanked by an attractive waterfront enhanced by Len Lye's Wind Wand. A couple of streets back is the admirable Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, and a regional museum and gallery complex known as Puke Ariki.
Just offshore is the Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Reserve, a haven for wildlife above and beneath the sea, and south of town is Carrington Road, a picturesque drive leading to the colourful rhododendron gardens of Pukeiti, past a historic cottage and a small zoo.