This mountain sneaks up on you. Driving in towards New Plymouth, suddenly we saw a beautiful snow capped wonder ahead. Viewed from a distance this spectacular volcano dominates and provides a spectacular back-drop. The summit was often covered in cloud but then when the clouds cleared the snow-covered “peak” (cone rim) was revealed and its true majesty could be seen. During the week that we were staying in New Plymouth I became mesmerised by this spectacular sight and found myself taking many photos of it from almost everywhere I was in the area.
It sounds like the locals mostly refer to this mountain as Mount Egmont, however, I was introduced to it as Mount Taranaki. I could see immediately why this beautiful mountain with its resemblance to Mount Fuji, provided the backdrop to the movie; The Last Samurai
On the day we visited Mount Taranaki and the Egmont National Park we stopped for a coffee at Inglewood on the way up. The weather was very cold which prompted a couple of folks in our group to purchase gloves and beanies. However, when we did arrive at the mount late morning the day had warmed up and the weather was glorious.
Upon arrival we were met by a local volunteer guide who specialises in bush walks in Egmont national park. John took us for a nature bush walk close to the visitors’ centre where he pointed out many of the trees and plant species, plus explained to us the need for so so many possum traps. In New Zealand the possums are a huge problem and unlike here in Australia they are not protected, in fact they are hunted/trapped and killed for different purposes. Possum fur is a big industry in NZ.
After about an hour of exploring many of the walks through the bush we then stopped by the cafe at the visitors centre for lunch and to buy some local gifts. The visitors centre has plenty of parking, information, including a model of the mountain and surrounds, and toilets. There is a water bottle filling station in front of information centre.
After lunch we made our way up towards the summit from the visitors centre. There were great walking tracks and beautiful views even without climbing all the way to the summit. We weren’t up for the summit hike so we opted instead for some of the shorter walks around the visitors centre. The walk ways are well laid out which makes the walking so easy and pleasant.
First up was the Nature walk with the viewing platform on the way. This was a lovely quick 15 minutes walk through gorgeous forest and with great views looking up the mountain and also down towards the coast. This walk was glorious in the sunshine. We loved the views, the birds and the flora diversity. There is trailhead signage indicating both distance and anticipated time durations. The mountain offers spectacular views, the more you give it, the more you will get in return. But don’t push yourself too hard, the mountain can be very tricky and treacherous. The locals will tell you many people died because they underestimated it.
The clouds came, the clouds went – Taranaki was stunning.