Yin is a slow-paced style of yoga where poses are held for up to five minutes, which helps promote circulation and improve limb flexibility. This is exactly what I need before my run. I find The Yoga Space studio behind a cupboard-like door down a hidden alleyway off the main road. It takes my eyes a few moments to adjust to the dark yoga studio, which is lit in small pockets by flickering candlelight. An hour of calming yoga in this tranquil setting has set me up perfectly for my run.
My pre-run dinner is at The Social Kitchen, a new cosy bistro on Powerham St. In order to fill my quota of protein and carbohydrates, I order the free range chicken and house-made flat bread plus sides of green veggies. Taranaki has become home to trendy new coffee bars including Ozone, an artisan coffee roaster that supplies beans to local cafes and specialty stores both locally and abroad. Elixir is another must-visit when in Taranaki. This quirky café has a menu bursting with healthy food that doesn’t compromise on flavour and, like most of the region’s cafes and restaurants, uses locally sourced, sustainable and free-range products.
Standing at the start line, time feels as though it’s crawling by. With two minutes remaining I take a long, deep breath to calm my nerves while stretching my calves and quads. Surrounded by fellow half-marathon runners, we watch in awe as the full marathon participants (who are now halfway through) effortlessly jog their way past us. The Bayleys Mountain to Surf Marathon route starts at the Egmont National Park, 460 metres above sea level. For the half marathon runners, the route starts at Inglewood and ends at the Marine Park, Waitara. Once the signal is given, the majority of us half marathon runners are herded like cattle while the faster participants zip their way to the leading positions.
I may not have had such goals but I’m certainly proud – I’ve accomplished something I never expected I could do with such little preparation. I guess that is a personal best!
The Taranaki Thermal Spa is my final destination and with my adrenaline levels well drained and my legs feeling wobbly, I’m more than ready for a soak. This unique bathhouse collects warm mineral water from a spring 916 metres below the ground. Originally discovered in 1909 when drilling for oil, the baths were used by locals until the spa was closed in the 1960’s. Reopened in 1999, the bathhouse now contains five private pools that are instantly filled on arrival and a large public pool for families. Temperatures sit between 32-40ºC and in my warm bath I simmer and doze.
Taranaki is a thriving hub of culture and creative arts. The region is home to painters, musicians and writers who find inspiration in the wild scenery and rich culture. The Nice Hotel is a stunning example of the combination of art and accommodation. Just a small walk from the town centre, the boutique hotel is well known by locals for its creative and eclectic mix of décor – as well its award-winning onsite restaurant, Table.
- The Bayleys Mountain to Surf Half and Full Marathon takes place in March, visit mountaintosurf.co.nz for more information.
- Built in 1870, New Plymouth’s oldest building has been restored into the boutique Nice Hotel, visit nicehotel.co.nz for info.
- Great for sore muscles (even without the half marathon), take
a trip to Taranaki Thermal Spa.
- The Yoga Space is a perfect time-out from busy Taranaki, visit theyogaspace.co.nz
Photos: Supplied, Thinkstock and Getty Images