Being the only mountain in the South-Western part of New Zealand´s North Island, Mount Taranaki truly stands out and the climb to the summit may just be the finest day hike in New Zealand. A tough day out however, I took 9 hours to reach the summit of Mount Taranaki, a 1600 meters ascent from the North Egmont Visitor Centre. After an initial 500 meters ascent on gravel road (aptly named The Puffer) followed by steps, the tough part begins with a very steep and very exhausting scree slope. A rocky ridge is reached, which then leads to the snowfilled crater and finally, after a steep 50 meters ascent out of the crater, the summit is reached.
Needless to say, in fine weather the views are spectacular, with a blanket of clouds aggregating just below the crater, reaching all the way to mountains of the Tongariro National Park. This is only a climb to be attempted in good weather.
Highlights: Crossing the snowfilled crater; The views from the summit
Difficulty: 4-5. The ascent, especially on the scree is quite steep. Though no scrambling is required it is a very steep and exhausting climb.
Information, bookings (all accomodation incl. tent spaces must be booked in advance) and maps: DOC (Department of Conservation).