Egmont National Park
Egmont National Park covers 33,534 hectares and was established as a national park in 1900. It is located on the western coast of New Zealand’s North Island and is within easy driving distance of towns of Stratford , Opunake and Hawera providing a choice of affordable motel and hotel accommodation while more luxurious options can be found in the city of New Plymouth. Egmont National Park is the home to New Zealand's most perfectly formed volcano Mt Taranaki (or Mt Egmont as it is also known) ruling supreme, standing tall above the surrounding landscape. Apart from one small bump - a subsidiary vent called Fantham's Peak - the mountain's cone is beautifully symmetrical. Reaching 2518 metres above sea level, Mt Taranaki is around 120,000 years old and last erupted in 1775. Volcanologists agree that the mountain is 'dormant' rather than extinct. Beside Mt Taranaki are two volcanoes of an earlier era: Kaitake and Pouakai. Often described as 'New Zealand's most climbed mountain', Mt Taranaki is an achievable and challenging climb for the fit and well prepared. For those non-mountaineers wanting a more relaxing experience there are beautiful walking tracks through the 'Goblin Forest', on the mountain's middle slopes, which takes its name from the gnarled shape of the trees and the thick swathes of trailing moss. Above the forest you'll find sub-alpine scrub, alpine herbs, waterfalls, wetlands and excellent viewpoints. Standing as it does in isolation from other mountains it is one of the best parks from which to get an elevated view of another New Zealand - the rural heartland.