Conquering Mount Taranaki

Last Friday afternoon, my colleague (Grant) and I spontaneously decide to climb Mount Taranaki!

Sound familiar? Last year, my flatmate and I decided to do the same thing. Unfortunately, bad weather (amongst other things!) prevented us from reaching the summit.

Grant and I leave Auckland 6:30 pm and arrive in Stratford at midnight. We wake at 5:30 am and head to the mountain shortly afterwards.

Neither of us brought a map of the mountain. Despite stopping a couple of service stations, we are still without a map! Although there many ways to scale Mount Taranaki, it appears there is not a map: beginners follow the well-marked northern ‘tourist’ track; pros don’t need one!

We change tack and start the tramp at the Egmont National Park Visitors Centre.

Unlike the eastern side, there is substantially less scree to contend with. We follow a gravel road flanked by scrub that soon turns into a steep concrete track (“The Puffer”). Following this there is a long flight of wooden stairs. Many stairs later, we make our way up the scree slope which soon changes into solid rock (“The Lizard”). Although the rocky part is much easier than the scree, it is quite steep (more than 45 degrees in places) and care needs to be taken.

In little over three hours, we are at the top of Mount Taranaki! Success!

Grant and I admire the view from 2518 m and head back. We make it back to the car park in a little over six hours (including a 30 minute stay at the summit). Surprisingly, the descent was not much faster than the ascent!

We head to New Plymouth and enjoy a classic kiwi fish and chip lunch down by the beach. Roughly five and a half hours later, we’re back in Auckland.

All in all, it was an enjoyable 24 hours, despite spending 11 hours driving! The weather could not have been better. I recommend scaling Mount Taranaki on the north face track before you attempt any other route!