Egmont National Park
Egmont National Park was created by a special act of parliament in 1900 and is the most accessible National Park in New Zealand.It protects the huge volcano Taranaki (or Mount Egmont, as it is also known) and two older volcanoes - Kaitake and Pouakai.
Taranaki is linked by legend to the mountains of the central North Island. As the story goes, Taranaki once lived with the other volcanoes of the central plateau - Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. When he made flirtatious advances towards a pretty hill named Pihanga, Tongariro erupted in a jealous fury. Taranaki fled to the west, gouging out the Whanganui River on his way. Today Taranaki is still venerated and its summit is sacred to the Maori people of the area.
Egmont National Park has a huge variety of walks in a range of habitats, from a few minutes in length (e.g.Kamahi Track 15 minutes) to several days (Pouakai Circuit 3 days). Most can be enjoyed on a single day.
There's a veritable maze of tracks around the Dawson Falls area, including the walk to Wilkies Pools, a series of eroded rock pools connected with gentle waterfalls. The 16.5 metre high Dawson Falls (pictured right) were discovered in 1883 by Thomas Dawson, the first postmaster in Manaia.
The area's high rainfall and mild coastal climate have allowed a lush rainforest to develop on the slopes of the mountain. At lower altitudes you'll walk through tall rimu and kamahi trees; higher up the volcano, sub-alpine shrubs and herbfields are found above the snow line.
The forest on Mount Taranaki's middle slopes is sometimes known as 'Goblin Forest', because of the gnarled shape of the trees and the thick swathes of trailing moss. Ahukawakawa Swamp is also botanically interesting, with its wide range of plants adapted to survive in acidic soils and very low temperatures.
However, there’s way more to see and do on our treasured mountain – mountaineering, rock-climbing and abseiling are just some of the activities offered to visitors and locals alike.
Climbing to the summit is a popular activity in the summer months (December to April) but is recommended for fit and healthy adventurers as it takes five hours to ascend and three hours to descend.
The skifield is usually open from June to September, dependent on snow cover and weather. Click here for more information about the Manganui Skifield Ski Taranaki
However, please take note. Mt Taranaki is not only legendary for its beauty, but also for its ever-changing weather conditions and even on a fine day during a short walk; visitors are advised to carry warm and weather-proof clothing.Summit climbs are best attempted with a guide.
Check out this safety video on Mount Taranaki.
Mt Taranaki is best accessed via Egmont Rd at Egmont Village to North Egmont; Pembroke Rd at Stratford to East Egmont; and Manaia Rd at Kaponga to Dawson Falls. Check out Department of Conservation centres or i-SITE visitor centres for route advice, equipment requirements and duration times.
North Egmont Visitor Centre
Open 7 days a week 8am-4.30pm. Closed Christmas Day.
Egmont Road RD6, Inglewood
Ph 06 756 0990
Dawson Falls Visitor Centre
Open Thursday-Sunday 9am-4pm and public/school holidays.
Manaia Road, Kaponga
Ph 027 443 0248
Mt Taranaki Adventures
Guided alpine bush walk and bicycle tour all in one!
A 100% pure Taranaki experience.
This cultural and adventure tour explores side tracks and secret locations known to Maori and the final highlight is a 14km downhill cycle tour though bush and farmland on the return to Kaponga.
Ph 06 7646585 or 0274140304