Taihape is the ‘gumboot capital of New Zealand’. Historically a rural service and railway town, it takes its title seriously, hosting a Gumboot Day festival every year in March.

The town celebrates the humble gumboot with its iconic giant gumboot sculpture made out of corrugated iron and number eight wire. Certainly, gumboots (Wellington Boots if you are English) are very useful in this agricultural and horticultural region.

If you have time to spare in Taihape, the town’s domain has a network of bush walks. And keen gardeners can enquire about visiting the area’s four showpiece gardens – Titoki, Rongoiti, Waitoka and Kiri Kiri.

Adrenalin junky? Local adventure activities include the famous Mokai Gravity Canyon. There’s also white-water rafting, abseiling, kayaking, jet boating and horse trekking at River Valley.

Enjoy a visit to the Taihape Museum or catch a movie at the Majestic Theatre. And, during the last weekend of January, Taihape hosts the local area’s A&P agriculture show. In winter, the ski fields of Mount Ruapehu are only a short drive away.