Just 14km from the Egmont National Park, the Stratford township is home to around 5500 people who are entertained daily by New Zealand’s largest Glockenspiel clock, which sees Romeo and Juliet emerge at 10am, 1pm, 3pm and 7pm daily.
One of the region’s most historic areas, Stratford District is not only the gateway to Mt Taranaki, but its largest town is also a living shrine to one of literature’s finest – William Shakespeare. Originally named Stratford-upon-Patea by early settlers, the bustling centre boasts street names taken from 27 of The Bard’s plays and enjoys a close relationship with other Stratfords around the world.
With dairying the area’s main industry, Stratford offers a huge range of rural activities, lush gardens, farmstays and sporting facilities, along with a nationally-renowned speedway, racecourse and golf course.
Running between Stratford and Taumarunui is the Forgotten World Highway 43, a three-hour trip threading its way through pristine sub-tropical rainforest and past more than 30 sites of significant interest, such as the 85m Mt Damper Falls (the North Island’s highest waterfall), historic Whangamomona Village, Tahora Saddle, the Moki Tunnel and Aotuhia’s ‘bridge to somewhere’. Don’t miss the Stratford Pioneer Village, Percy Thomson Gallery, Whangamomona Republic day or Dawson Falls Visitor Centre.
Other settlements and districts in this area include historic Eltham with its charming pioneer town centre, Toko, Kaponga, Pukengahu, Strathmore, Makahu, Midhirst, Ngaere, Tariki and Mangatoki.