Summit Mt. Taranaki
New Zealand › Mt. Taranaki Trail
Added by Theodore Kate
Hike up a dormant, symmetrical volcano to incredible 360 degree views. You will see an ice-filled crater and native trees along this challenging hike.
Begin your hike at Egmont Visitor Centre at 960m above sea level and only 35 minutes from the coastal town of New Plymouth. As this hike will take approximately 8 hours, it is advised to make an early start.
The first section of the climb is a 4WD track from which you can see the perfect symmetry of Taranaki. After about an hour and a half you’ll arrive at Tahurangi Lodge (1520m), which is a great place for a snack before the track turns to stairs and then becomes scree (a mixture of dirt, gravel and volcanic rock) which makes for a two-steps-forward-one-step-back kind of scenario. At this point of the hike you’d be forgiven for thinking you were on the moon if it weren’t for the fabulous views of endless farmland and surrounding volcanoes: Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe.
As the rocks beneath your feet grow larger the hiking becomes easier and before long you’re pulling yourself through gaps in boulders, known as Lizard Ridge (2200m), and peeking into the crater or the volcano, which is filled with ice year round. Continue through the crater and out the other side to scramble up some slippery volcanic rock to the summit of Mt Taranaki (2518m). The summit is a culturally sensitive area to local Maori who refer to Taranaki as an ancestor. Iwi ask climbers not to stand on the sacred 'Summit Rock' itself.
The slippery descent through the scree requires some balance but means your descent will take approximately 3 hours in comparison to the 5 hour ascent, along the same route. Bring warm clothes that can be layered as, even in summer, the weather can be unpredictable.
Read up on the Maori legend of Taranaki’s love triangle with the other volcanoes and how its tears filled the Whanganui River. It will make this hike all the more special.
Summiting Taranaki in Winter and Spring requires mountaineering experience and alpine equipment and the route changes slightly near the summit. All year round, attempt this climb only if you are well-prepared and the weather is good.
For up-to-date information and local alerts, see the government website: http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/taranaki/places/egmont-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/mount-taranaki-summit-track/
- Sturdy shoes
- Warm clothes
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