Taranaki is my home, so maybe I’m biased when I say I think we have the best hiking tracks in New Zealand’s North Island. Perhaps only the Tongariro Alpine Crossing could compare when it comes to striking views of up close mountains, the kind that make your lips pop ‘wow’ again and again.
Although I could fill pages with all the tracks around Mt Taranaki (and as I write this, I plan yet another mountain trek) I’m going to show you Taranaki’s diversity of landscapes for all fitness levels.
Whitecliffs (moderate) 3-4hrs/6.5kms return – although you can make this hike as long as 14kms
Located in the north of Taranaki between Urenui and Mokau, this track runs along the cliffs overlooking some seriously beautiful and unspoiled beaches. It’s rural and peaceful out here – we only saw a couple of hikers at the beginning of the walk and then had the rest of the afternoon to ourselves. And the farther you hike, the more rewarding the views, so it’s worth taking your time.
Ideally, you want to time the tides so that you can do the first half of the hike along the beach and then ascend up into the hills of native forestry, before finishing the loop among the farmland and cattle.
Coastal walkway (easy) 12kms in length – but your hike can be as long or as short as you’d like
This smooth pathway rolls around the coast of New Plymouth, and is best enjoyed while whizzing through on a bicycle. The coastal walkway can be quite popular with walkers in the evenings, especially in the summer, but it’s an easy and pleasant meander around the coast.
Lake Maungamahoe (easy to moderate) 1hr30/6kms
If you want a perfect shot of Mt Taranaki, you really can’t beat heading up to the lookout at Lake Maungamahoe. This circular track trails around half of the lake before veering up into the hills, and the tranquil atmosphere makes for a refreshing afternoon stroll.
Egmont National Park (easy to strenuous) tracks are between 1 hour and 4 days in length
There are several hikes in Egmont National Park; the best short hikes go to the North Egmont lookout from the visitors centre or the Dawson fall hike from the South Taranaki visitors centre. For day long hikes you may be interested in the summit track to the top of the mountain, fine for anyone in the summer with a reasonable fitness level. There is so much more to Egmont National Park than can be done justice with a little paragraph, so go check out the official page on all hikes here
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