A pair of tourists had a lucky escape after their campervan had its side ripped open in a collision caused by wandering cattle on a main Taranaki road last night.

Waverley fire chief Alan Hickford said the accident happened on State Highway 3 when a holiday campervan struck a cattle beast believed to have fallen off the back of a stock truck.

"A big campervan was coming up the road when it hit a cattle beast which ran across the road in front of them.

"When he hit the beast he lost all of his steering and collided with a ute towing a big trailer.

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"It took out the whole right-hand side of the campervan."

He said the two people travelling in the campervan, a couple in their 50s, and two people in the ute walked away from the accident without injury.

The beast was put down at the scene.

Mr Hickford said another two stray cattle were found further along the road. One had died but another had been put into a paddock.

He said it was likely they had fallen off the back of a truck.

"It could have been really serious," he said.

"It was dark and because cattle beasts are black you don't see them until they are there right in front of you."

He said friends of those driving the campervan were in a following vehicle and took the shaken couple back to New Plymouth.