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Taranaki

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Egmont NP covers 33,534 hectares. The national park was established in 1900 and is second oldest one in New Zealand. It's mine attraction is a volcano Mt. Taranaki (Mt. Egmont) 2 518 m. Name of Taranaki is originally Maori. James Cook visited this place in 1770 and gave to the volcano name Egmont. Both names are used frequently nowadays. Mt. Taranaki is after Mt. Fuji in Japan second most conical volcano in the world. The volcano's last eruption was 350 years ago and now is considered like a burnt out.

Are of Taranaki is secret place for Maori. Chiefs have their graves here and forest on the volcanos slopes served like a refuge in times of danger.

The volcano's summit is covered with lava fields. South of the summit is other peak called Fantham's Peak. It's elevation is 1 962 m. This area is one of the rainest places in New Zealand. Annual average rainfall in North Egmont is 7 000 mm. It is said:" If you can see the mountain, it is going to be rain. If you do not see the mountain, it is already raining.

In the park are two volcanoes of an earlier era: Kaitake and Pouakai. They are both smaller and separated with swamps. Mt. Taranaki is far a way the highest peak and near to the sea. Because that the volcano offers unforgettable views over surrounding landscape. In the foothills grows tropical forest. Vegetation is changing with rising elevation.

I was surprised by beautiful great canyons on the volcano's slopes. Track is heading at to the summit as around the mountain. The circle is long 55 kilometers. It takes circa 3-5 days, according climatic conditions and which track you will choose.

Mt. Taranaki is the most climbed mountain in New Zealand. To climb the summit seems ease but because that a lot of people underestimate it. The mountain claims the most lives in the country. Even I met a guy from Holland who hiked the summit during sunny day. On the way back the clouds came and he lost his path. He had to bivouac on the mountain without sleeping back in the rain. He was hungry and freezing but also very happy when I met him next morning on the path. He got off the summit far away from any path and was lucky that he did not kill himself in some canyon.


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