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Whether your thing is climbing sheer rocky crags or strolling an easy 10-minute forest walk to a waterfall, you’ll find something to wow you in this national park. Short walks to natural features, multiday hikes using park huts for accommodation, and day climbs of the mountain (rocky in summer, icy and snowy in winter) are all popular. There’s also a little, very basic ski field.
Mt. Taranaki is a potentially perilous mountain to climb; unpredictable weather and steep upper slopes with sheer bluffs and winter ice are an extremely dangerous combination. For summit climbs when there is snow on the mountain, use a local guide. To the local Māori people, the mountain is sacred, regarded as an ancestor. They ask that climbers respect the spirituality and not clamber over the summit rocks.
Mt. Taranaki Guided Tours. Guide and owner Ian McAlpine has made more than 1,700 ascents of Mt. Taranaki and climbed in Nepal, India, and Antarctica. He leads individual and group climbs and organizes other day and multiday walks that explore the park's forests, waterfalls, gorges, old lava flows, and alpine plants. Summit-climb rates depend on the season and group size. 06/751–3542 or 0274/417–042. www.mttaranakiguidedtours.co.nz.
Manganui. The only ski slope on Mt. Taranaki is owned by a small club and only operates for 10 to 30 days each winter (June–October), based on snow conditions. Non-members can buy tow passes for a day. Facilities are limited, it's a 20-minute walk from the parking lot to the ski area, and the terrain is for intermediate and advanced skiers. Egmont National Park, 4391. www.skitaranaki.co.nz.
Hiking. Egmont National Park has more than 188 km (116 miles) of walking trails that lead around the mountain and across to the adjoining Pouakai Range, through dense forests, across the higher subalpine slopes, past waterfalls, across mountain streams, and beneath massive lava bluffs. There are signposted short walks, suitable for all ages, from each of the three main park access roads. The best trails for sampling the park's forested scenery start from the Dawson Falls Visitor Centre. Most popular are the Wilkies Pools Loop Track and Kapuni Loop Track to Dawson Falls; each takes 1 to 1½ hours. In late summer, when there is usually no snow on the mountain, summit ascents are popular. The most straightforward route is from the North Egmont Visitor Centre and takes anywhere from 7 to 10 hours round-trip. You must be properly equipped, keeping in mind that the weather conditions change extremely quickly, and tell someone reliable of your plans. For a multiday hiking trip, consider the well-signed Pouakai Circuit, which has accommodation huts (NZ$15 a night) at one-day intervals. The Pouakai Crossing, an increasingly popular one-day walk, takes in the diverse landscape features of the Pouakai Circuit, but because the start and finish are several kilometers apart, transportation must be arranged. (Check with the visitor center.) For those who want to stay on the mountain, the Camphouse has budget bunkhouses at North Egmont (NZ$38 per person or NZ$90 double room including bed linen). Reservations are required.