Mount Taranaki, Egmont National Park, Taranaki, New Zealand
At first driving along Highway 3 from Whanganui the land levels off and the mountain are for left behind, then out of the corner of my eye I begin to notice a form in the distance above the clouds. Thinking twice, that can’t be, you suddenly get the strange feeling and start to stare at the top of the volcano that really shouldn’t be up there. Mount Taranaki is huge ! Isolated from the inland Tongariro National Park, Mount Taranaki sits alone on the corner of the North Island, even looking at the map beforehand just doesn’t give the scale of the thing. I am Impressed.
Turn right at the Volcano !
My wife has always wanted to say that. So turning right in Stanford we follow the road up and up…the ground rises up in front of the camper time slows down as it seems to take an age to reach the base of the volcano. The circular green exclusion zone on the map is the start of the protected forest around Mount Taranaki National Park. Once we pass through the trees the road narrows and starts to climb up through the forest often turning this way at that, it gets a bit twisty. After ten minutes the trees drop away behind us and we continue up the Wanganui Skifield parking spaces below the summit. The view from up here is panoramic, coast to coast, we are below the cloud line but only just, it feels we are looking down from an aircraft such is the distance we can see. It’s very windy up here, the clouds are swirling around the summit making it difficult to clearly see, we were lucky yesterday evening when we arrived to see the clear summit, it hides a lot apparently.
Taking a break from the wind we head back down the road stopping at Stratford Mountain House in the shadow of the volcano, for a well earned coffee and cake.
Check it out here, Stratford Mountain House
We stay overnight in New Plymouth, which turned out to be a pretty cool town, lots of artist murals and architecture. From our camping site overlooking the bay we could walk along the shorefront all the way into New Plymouth in the evening.
Check outage doc website : Egmont National Park
Where : Mount Taranaki, Egmont National Park, Taranaki, New Zealand
Travelling : We drove up from Waianae near Wellington stopping over for a break in the town of Whanganui. Highway 3 travels along the southern coastline until Hawera on the coast them heads north overland to New Plymouth. The volcano is unmistakable on the left hand side and accessible from this side from the turnoff in Stanford.
Camping : New Plymouth, Belt Road Holiday Park easy walk into the town centre along the seafront pathway, cool views out over the bay.
Next Up : The Forgotten World Highway
Instagram : Above the Clouds / Mount Taranaki