Mount Egmont National Park is both beautiful in summer and in the winter. With Mt Taranaki as its centre piece, along with bush, forest and waterfalls. There are plenty of beautiful sights and hikes in this National Park, however this blog will contain my top 5 favourites.
There are four places you can access the park; via Dawson Falls Visitor Centre, Mangorei trailhead carpark, North Egmont Visitor Centre and the Stratford Plateau. Each of these entry points are also freedom camping spots.
As Mt Taranaki is situated in alpine terrain, it contributes to unpredictable weather patterns. Hiking in this national park can be dangerous, so make sure to check the weather forecast prior to commencing your hikes.
1. Pouakai Hut/Tarn
I did not have your typical experience while hiking this trail. I wasn’t lucky at all and go no views plus horrible weather. My experience was a bit negative and unpleasant. This is only because I didn’t listen to weather forecast and listened to my blind optimism instead!
This hike leads you to the beautiful Pouakai Tarn, which is a reflective water source, where on a clear day shows a mirror image of Mt Taranaki. You can read my full experience here.
2. Dawson Falls
This hike starts at the Dawson Falls visitor centre, it will take you about 5-10 mins to walk to the trailhead from the carpark. As you are walking on the road, just be careful of oncoming traffic. The track follows down into some lush forests, before reaching a staircase which descends to the bottom of the falls. This hike will only take you about 1 hr round trip, even shorter if you don’t plan on admiring the falls. Make sure to see the Dawson Falls view point too, it’s only a 2 min walk to the right from the top of the steps
3. Wilkies Pools and Goblin Forrest
This is a beautiful hike which starts at the Dawson Falls Visitor Centre and leads you through the Goblin Forrest. This Forrest features trees which are covered in moss, and it truly does have a mystic feel about it. The hike itself isn’t too hard to reach the Pools. It should only take about 20-30mins from the Visitor centre.
Along this route you will cross a swing bridge, which gives great views of Mt Taranaki on a clear day. Once over this bridge, turn left and you are at the pools. I recommend ventured up the rocks for about 5 mins, as here you will reach small plunge pools. These pools would be great to cool off in summer and have great views of Mt Taranaki!
You can choose to end this hike here and turn back the same way you came. Or you can do the loop which will take you about another 1-1.5hr.
4. Pouakai Circuit
This is a multiple day hike, which does require some level of fitness. You are hiking in alpine conditions, so it is best to check the weather and prepare accordingly. This 2–3-day hike offers spectacular views of Mt Taranaki and the surrounding countryside.
The 25km track passes through Forrest, swamps and alpine tussock fields. You can stay in huts along hike, or in designated camping spots. For more information about this hike visit here.
5. Kent Road
Technically this one isn’t in the Egmont National Park, but I felt it deserved a spot somewhere on my blog. This is where you will find the famous road photo of Mt Taranaki. The road lines up perfectly with the mountain, and with a zoom lens, makes Mt Taranaki look huge.
I was lucky on my last day in the national park, the weather cleared up and I got a beautiful view of Mt Taranaki finally! I am not usually one who takes road photos, because quite frankly they are dangerous to do. But this was the shot I was dreaming of, so I had to get it!
A couple things I want to say about this road in terms of safety. It is a busy street, and a 100kmph road. There are a few safe spots to pull off the road, and when you do make sure you have pulled off enough so that cars can pass you! I had pulled off the road completely, but another couple of travellers left their back wheels on the road. This is extremely dangerous, as traffic had to dodge their cars.
This spot is also located below a hill, so make sure you listen out for cars. If you want to be safe and dodge as much traffic as possible. Go in the afternoon or in the morning. Taking photos on roads should be done safely and at your own risk.
Click here for a detailed two week North Island itinerary!
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