Mount Taranaki is the second highest mountain on New Zealand’s north island, at 2517m (around 8500ft for you folks on the imperial system).
The climb up it is a gruelling 17km hike, and this is generally regarded as being one of the toughest day hikes you can do on the north island.
With this knowledge in our minds, we decided to give it a go. The day we chose was absolutely perfect, with just a gentle breeze to accompany us, and no cloud forecast.
The hike started at the 900 metre mark, and from there on in it was all uphill, first through lush forest, then scrubland, before the really hard part – a tough slog up an insanely steep scree field and a scramble up the lava flow near the top.
Here are a series of photos to give you an idea of what this walk is like. Check out the end of the post for a bit more information on the walk, and a video of me making a tit out of myself on the way back down the aforementioned scree slope…
The path up. At around 1000m altitude here, only 1500 metres to go!
The end of the easy path. The trail continues up to the right of the hut.
Onwards and upwards. Still relatively easy compared to what is coming..
End of the scree and the start of the “Lizard”, a lava flow up the side of the mountain to the crater. Also quite a scramble. Oh yes, and some snow.
View back across the scree scramble from the start of the Lizard. The views were pretty awesome.
Nearly the top! The crater is snow filled year round and for most of the year requires ice axes and crampons. We didn’t have these and didn’t need them.
On the way up to the final summit from the crater. Actually almost there now.
The top! And we were not alone – this walk is nowhere near as busy as some, but there are a few people on the trail when the weather is this good.
There was some art at the top.
The view from the top with the clouds swirling around was lovely. The clouds in the far background are across the Tongariro National Park, 180km away.
And the inevitable picture of me at the top. Splendid stuff!
For more information on this walk, the excellent Department of Conservation centre at the start of the walk has pretty much everything you need to know. There is also a sign in and sign out book which is essential to fill in even for the day hikes – the weather here changes incredibly quickly and having someone know you are still on the mountain is a comfort. It is a serious mountain to hike – over sixty people have died on its slopes – so every precaution should be taken.
For more information on how to prepare for a day hike, check out my day hikes – what you need to know post. Otherwise, I can highly recommend this walk if you want a slightly less crowded volcano climb compared to say the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, or are just looking for a really awesome uphill stroll. And now.. here’s that video I mentioned:
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, why not take a look at some of the other posts I’ve done featuring the Taranaki region, including two fabulous road trips in the area: the Surf Coast Highway, and the Lost World Highway.