Taranaki Maunga is paved with thousands of kilometres of walking tracks – both short and long. But which ones lead to the best views?
Photos by Jeremy Beckers, Rob Tucker and Amity Court Motel.
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 mountain is a spiritual tupuna, or ancestor, for Taranaki Māori, we ask that you respect this by not standing directly on the summit peak or camping or cooking in the summit area
The Pouakai Tarns
Leaving the top of Mangorei Road in New Plymouth, the walk to the Pouakai Tarns is about two hours up wooden stairs to reach the Pouakai Hut and then a further ten minutes to the picturesque Pouakai Tarns. If you want the best photo, we recommend you stay at Pouakai Hut overnight ($15 per adult) and then you'll be ready with your camera at dawn and dusk when the wind settles and the reflection looks its best. Bookings are essential for the Pouakai Hut so book your bunk bed.
After hiking for half an hour through the Goblin Forest or fifteen minutes on a wheelchair/pushchair friendly track from the Dawson Falls carpark, you will arrive at the picturesque Wilkies Pools. The plunge pools were naturally 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 watch but if you don’t mind fresh mountain water, they are great for swimming in too!
The Stratford Plateau
Grab a takeaway coffee from The Ngāti Ruanui Stratford Mountain House and drive up the mountain to the end of Pembroke Road where you will find the start of the East Egmont Lookout Track. Follow this for half an hour and you will find yourself at a lookout with stunning views all the way across the central plateau.
Located half-way along the Pouakai Crossing, the Ahukawakawa Wetlands were formed around 3,500 years ago. You will find many unusual and rare flora and fauna
in the unique microclimate such as giant carnivorous snails that grow up to nine centimetres long! The Ahukawahawa Wetlands also have a beautiful view of the peak of Taranaki Maunga.