If you’re climbing or circumnavigating Taranaki Maunga, a few notable stop-off spots offer spectacularly photo-worthy views. Off the maunga, two standout, must-visit vantage points provide magnificent views of the maunga from afar.
Views from the maunga
The 8-12 hour hike up the slopes of Taranaki Maunga is the most challenging and dangerous walk on the mountain; however, it leads to one of the best views. From the summit area, you can see much of the North Island’s west coast, the central plateau including Mt Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu, and even the South Island. You’ll find plenty of spots to take in the view but, as the maunga is a spiritual tupuna, or ancestor, for Taranaki tangata whenua, we ask that you respect this by not standing directly on the summit peak, camping or cooking in the summit area.
The Pouākai Tarn
Leaving from the top of Mangorei Road in New Plymouth, the walk to the Pouākai Tarn is approximately two hours up wooden stairs to reach the Pouākai Hut. It is then only an extra ten minutes from the hut to the picturesque Pouākai Tarn. If you want the best photo opportunity, we recommend you stay at Pouākai Hut overnight ($15 per adult), and then you'll be ready with your camera at dawn or dusk when the wind settles, and the reflection looks its best. Bookings are essential for the Pouākai Hut so book your bunk bed.
After hiking for half an hour through the Goblin Forest (Kapuni Loop Track) or for 15 minutes on the wheelchair/pushchair friendly track from the Dawson Falls carpark, you will arrive at the astounding Wilkies Pools. These natural plunge pools were formed by the scouring action of water-borne sand and gravel on 20,000-year-old lava. The pools are beautiful to simply sit and take in the panoramic view of the region below or the maunga peak above, but if you don’t mind fresh mountain water, they are great for swimming in too!
Views of the maunga
The views from atop Paritutu Rock are threefold. The 15-20-minute vertical scale up the mammoth volcanic rock formation is well worth the effort for the ultimate bird’s-eye-views of the Taranaki coastline stretching across from north to south. The vantage point also offers amazing views outwards across the Tasman Sea and the surrounding Sugar Loaf Islands; but the pièce de resistance view, on a clear day, is that of the majestic Taranaki Maunga keeping watch over the region.
Lake Mangamahoe is already a popular mountain biking and walking track location, but it’s the elevated lookout point, found by a slight veer off the main lake walking path, that presents the extraordinarily stunning view of Taranaki Maunga, foregrounded by the beautiful surrounding forest and lake.