Stratford is in the North Island’s Taranaki district, just east of Mount Taranaki. It has a population of about five thousand.
It was named after Stratford-Upon-Avon in England, and it shows. All the streets bear the names of Shakespearean characters. It also features a clock tower with a working glockenspiel, which plays a five-minute piece from Romeo and Juliet three times every day.
Stratford is at one end of the Forgotten World Highway, which runs to Taumarunui, about two hours’ drive. It’s worth taking longer over, though, as the road passes twenty sites of historical interest, such as old mines, kilns and villages.
Stratford also features an open-air pioneer village with forty historic buildings.
The town is also handy to Egmont National Park, which features hundreds of signposted walking tracks. A fifteen minute walk will take you deep into the bush to the famous Goblin Forest.
In winter, the nearby Manganui ski field is also popular with skiers and snowboarders.