Mount Taranaki, in the west of New Zealand's North Island, is about 200 miles (325 kms) from Wellington. The main city in the area is New Plymouth, on the coast north of the mountain, and other notable towns are Opunake, Stratford, Eltham, and Hawera. They are easy to reach from Wellington by air or road.
Duration: 1 hour
Direct flights between Wellington and New Plymouth operate a few times a day, and this is the easiest and quickest way of reaching the Taranaki area. Wellington is a notoriously windy city, so you might encounter some turbulence while flying out. Expect wonderful views as you get closer to New Plymouth, as Mount Taranaki is a spectacular snow-capped volcano.
Duration: 4.5 hours, more with stops
The drive between Wellington and Taranaki is beautiful in many places, so this makes for a great trip, whether you go directly or stop at points of interest along the way (such as the Kapiti Coast and Whanganui).
Travel north out of Wellington on State Highway (SH) 1, following the Kapiti Coast. Turn west onto SH 3 at Bulls, and continue through Whanganui. Hawera will be the first Taranaki town of any note that you come across; you may want to stay there, or you can continue inland on SH 3 to Eltham, Stratford and through to New Plymouth, or follow the coast around on SH 45 to Opunake.
Duration: 7 hours
One direct bus travels between Wellington and New Plymouth, going via Whanganui. From Hawera it takes the inland route, so you can request to get off at any of the Taranaki towns along SH 3 before reaching New Plymouth. Buses take longer than driving yourself because they make scheduled stops, but you can enjoy the mountain and coastal views without worrying about driving.