We headed to New Plymouth for the day from our housesit in Wanganui. The drive up the surf highway to New Plymouth was a nice one, but not close to the beaches as the highway was mostly set quite a ways inland from the water. It was a pretty drive none the less. We arrived in New Plymouth and headed to the I-site to pick up a few maps and found out that the I-Site was connected to a great free museum, Puke Ariki. We asked a few questions, picked up our maps and took a stroll through the museum. We also asked in the I-site about the Brooklands Zoo, a free zoo that we had read about and were told the nicest way to get there was a walk through the Pukekura Park.
After the museum we drove over to the park and took a 30 minute walk through the park. This wasn’t just any park, it was huge (128 acres) and contained sports fields, a small cafe, ponds, gardens, hiking trails, and an amazing outdoor amphitheater!
We enjoyed walking through the park and took our time admiring all the beautiful trees and flowers, stopping a while to watch some ducks with their ducklings before heading to the zoo.
We didn’t have our expectations set very high since it was a free zoo. We assumed it would have a few farm animals and maybe a petting zoo. We were shocked to find 4 different types of monkeys, meerkats, otters, an aviary, alpacas, pigs and more! It was small, but we loved it. We timed it just right since it was feeding time and all the animals were out eating.
We walked back through the park and stopped at the cafe for an ice cream. New Plymouth looked like a great town, we weren’t able to explore much more but it appeared to have lots to do and see.