New Plymouth's black, volcanic-sand beaches are terrific for surfing. Close to the eastern edge of town are Fitzroy Beach and East End Beach (allegedly the cleanest beach in Oceania). There’s also decent surf at Back Beach, near Paritutu, at the western end of the city. Otherwise, head south along Surf Hwy 45.
The New Plymouth i-SITE stocks the Taranaki: A Walker's Guide booklet, which includes coastal, local reserve and park walks. The excellent Coastal Walkway (11km) from Bell Block to Port Taranaki gives you a surf-side perspective on New Plymouth and crosses the much-photographed Te Rewa Rewa Bridge. The Huatoki Walkway (5km), following Huatoki Stream, is a rambling walk into the city centre. Alternatively, the New Plymouth Heritage Trail brochure, taking in historic hot spots, is a real blast from the past.