Jess is a Wanderer ventured around Mount Taranaki in search of good views, good hikes and good weather. Sadly, there were intermittent views, slippy hikes and the worst weather you could imagine! We made it out for a couple of sunrises without getting washed away – but without seeing too much either. We did, however, enjoy some very soggy walks through the bush.
Mount Taranaki peaking through the clouds on an almost perfectly clear morning. It was just a shame we woke up at 4 for the sunrise, drove an hour in the lashing rain and it was only on the way back to our house that the mountain appeared before us!
Cape Egmont Lighthouse is marked on all the tourist trails as a must-see place but it’s located on private property. Ask permission to access for photos or approach when the proprietors offer access. It’s way round on the western side of Taranaki – a bit out of the way – but if you manage to get a photo of the mountain and lighthouse, congratulations. I didn’t!
The hike to Pouakai Hut and the neighbouring tarns is a fantastic trail to do. You climb around 700 steps and arrive at the DOC hut which you can camp at. Just ten minutes beyond are the tarns which offer fabulous views of the mountain reflected in the still waters. Sadly, we also did this on a rainy day so there was no view and once we’d ascended the steps, we didn’t even bother venturing on to see the tarns.
The Maketawa Track is accessed from the visitor centre at North Egmont – it begins with the same track that you use to climb Taranaki’s summit but it’s on gravel and not too tricky. The worst part, for us, was the weather. It was miserable indeed! Windy, wet and cold with very limited visibility and plenty of puddles, flooded parts of the pathway and slippery rocks to navigate. Such joy!
From The Mountain House, near Stratford, you can access the Waingororo Track which takes around two hours to complete as a round trip. It involves crossing a couple of streams and in bad weather, it’s a sure fire way to get very wet feet – or even fall into the stream like a certain someone did! The hut has a log fire so if you book to stay the night it’s a guaranteed way to be cosy no matter what the weather is doing up on the mountain.
And to finish off, here are some of my favourite pics from my week in the Taranaki National Park: