Mt Taranaki has such a dominant presence in this region that when we drove north earlier this month we felt the mountain’s absence. Regardless of where you are in this part of New Zealand you can look over your shoulder and catch a glimpse of Taranaki or at least a cone of cloud and mist where it usually stands. Egmont National Park nestles around the whole base of the mountain, includes the Pouakai Ranges and is pretty much dense forestry with some hiking trails carved out.
A satellite image of Taranaki - the National Park is the dark green centre surrounding the mountain - the light green terrain is farmland
When we circled around to Southern Taranaki we stopped at the possum fur and leather shop where Jack bought a possum tail to complement his kangaroo ball sack (don’t ask). Possums are an invasive introduced species which devastate native flora and fauna. Seriously, by buying possum fur in New Zealand you’re helping us to protect the native kiwi’s environment. Fur isn’t always murder, sometimes its capital punishment.
Back in the car we drove up towards the Park. Mt Taranaki inched closer and closer until we could clearly see the contours of the snow over the individual ridges and I felt like I could reach out and run my hands through it.
We hiked thirty minutes through the bush to reach Dawson Falls where we refilled our drink bottles with river water so fresh it tasted like filtered spring water. It would have been snow just a few hours prior.
This is prime kiwi terrain so we were unable to bring our dog Wolfe to run about.