This is by far the most popular walk in the New Zealand. Every international visitor seems to know about it and want to do it. I'd first done it 10 years ago and was keen to see it during good weather as the last time I'd done it the weather was shocking and we saw pretty much nothing. I also wanted to see if it lived up to it's moniker as the best day walk in New Zealand, as this is the walk that many international visitors to New Zealand do in their limited time that they have here, due to the relative ease of access, the interesting terrain, and that it only takes a day!
We lucked out big time with this walk - a few days before we were due to start walking the middle section of the track was closed due to snow. And two days after we came off that section it closed again due to bad weather. Which is completely understandable as there is no way I'd want to be on top of those ridgelines in windy and/or snowy conditions!
If ever there was a day where I wish a drone would deliver me red bull into the middle of nowhere, and a host of other things to give me energy, today would have been it. A night in a hut with 25 others, rustling sleeping bags, and a body covered in sandfly bites meant my energy levels today were non existent - less than ideal for a full on day of hiking.
If you asked a child to draw a mountain, I’m pretty sure they’d produce an image that looked very similar to Mt Taranaki. As you drive into Taranaki, the Maunga draws you in, and seeing her in winter, her top covered in snow, is just glorious.
When I went to pick up my friend to do this walk with me, he pointed to where we'd be walking. I may have slightly underestimated which mountain we'd be climbing and as we drove closer, it just seemed to loom even taller above us.