Hiking, Dancing and Surfing in the Region Ruled By New Zealand's Most Perfectly Formed Volcano: Kia Ora Taranaki

Taranaki was one of the last main areas of New Zealand for me to visit. Planning our trip here made me realize that during the last 2-3 months we've literally been all over this stunning island country... From Middle to South to West to East and to the far North. And that goes for both New Zealand's South and North Island... The freedom and possibilities when traveling in a van in New Zealand are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Especially when you're all about simple living, super flexible and not too fussy about most things. Just like me and Leon... Leon for sure, I'm still learning. More on that later and back to our Taranaki adventure.

The Taranaki Region and Mount Taranaki in Egmont National Park

Taranaki is the Western region on New Zealand's North Island. Mainly known for it's 2518m high attraction Mount Taranaki: one of the world's most perfectly cone-shaped volcanoes and it's one of those that makes even people with zero interest in hiking want to climb it. I can't explain what it is but from the moment you get a glance of Mt. Taranaki in the horizon "he's" just with you no matter where in Taranaki you go. And he's calling for you to visit.

It's an 8-10 hours challenging hike to the 2518m summit and down (starting at around 1000m at the Egmont North Visitor Center) and due to it's coastal position weather conditions change all the time. It's "warned" that hikers should be prepared for anything and check with the Egmont Visitor Centers before starting. Apart from the main climb there's heaps of other walks on the volcano - anything from smaller climbs, 1 hour garden walks, fun loops and even a 4-5 days circuit walk AROUND the volcano.

Due to strong wind on the days of our visit we skipped doing an alpine hike and instead we did a 4 hour loop starting from the Egmont Visitor Centre on the South side of the volcano. An epic walk with both alpine views, water falls and thick bush. It made me so keen on coming back and conquer the main Summit hike!

According to Māori mythology, Mount Taranaki once lived in the middle of the North Island with all the other New Zealand volcanoes. He was in love with the beautiful Pihanga but lost her to Mount Tongariro. Wounded and heart broken Taranaki headed westwards until he reached the Pouakai Ranges and as the sun came up Taranaki found himself at his new home where he lives today. If you see Taranaki covered in rainclouds, he is said to be crying for his lost love. If you see him bathing in a beautiful sunset or sunrise, he is said to be displaying himself to Pihanga. Mount Tongariro's continuously eruptive activities are said to be a warning to Taranaki not to return inlands ️

According to Māori mythology, Mount Taranaki once lived in the middle of the North Island with all the other New Zealand volcanoes. He was in love with the beautiful Pihanga but lost her to Mount Tongariro. Wounded and heart broken Taranaki headed westwards until he reached the Pouakai Ranges and as the sun came up Taranaki found himself at his new home where he lives today. If you see Taranaki covered in rainclouds, he is said to be crying for his lost love. If you see him bathing in a beautiful sunset or sunrise, he is said to be displaying himself to Pihanga. Mount Tongariro's continuously eruptive activities are said to be a warning to Taranaki not to return inlands ️

Womad Festival 2016 in New Plymouth

The main reason behind our Taranaki visit was actually the fact that we had been summoned not by Mount Taranaki but by the organizers of the big world festival Womad taking place in Taranaki's main hub New Plymouth. In exchange of (fun) volunteer work we got free 3 day tickets to the festival. Volunteering at festivals is super great if you get super great jobs! It's really an awesome way to experience a festival and being part of it and I absolutely love Womad! Such an amazingly colorful and cultural World's Festival - check it out here.

Taranaki Like No Other

After 3 busy festival days with just a bit of work and lots of fun with new and old Kiwi friends & family we finished our week in Taranaki with some beach time. Calming down in nature and getting our energy back with surf and yoga... Taranaki has a an actual Surf Highway and the surf breaks are countless. Needless to say: my boyfriend was very happy!

Taranaki like no other as the region's slogan goes. So true and I'm already thinking about when we can take the 4-5 hours drive back here from our base in Mount Maunganui.

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