Taranaki, on the North Island's west coast, juts into the Tasman Sea halfway between Auckland and Wellington. It's dominated by Mt Taranaki, a huge snow-capped volcanic cone. The Egmont National Park encompassing the mountain and surrounding land is perfect for hiking. In winter, Mt Taranaki becomes a place to ski. The main city in the region, New Plymouth, is an arty place with glorious parks and gardens, and black sand beaches.