As most trips begin from Wellington, we headed north 5-hours towards Mt. Taranaki hoping we would still have enough daylight for our 2-hour hike to Tahurangi Lodge, our home for that night.
We were aware of Mt. Taranaki being notorious for it's rapid and unexpected change in weather. So, we prepared well by making sure we had all the right gear in case the clouds and rain rolled in.
Fortunately for us, the weatherman was preaching a weekend full of sunshine! When we reached the car park at the foot of the mountain, we were delighted to see blue skies all around.
Mt Taranaki is an intimidating mountain, it stands alone at 2518m tall and as the only one in it's region, which really adds to the awe of the spectacle.
After a long day of driving, we were keen to get the legs moving and make it to the hut for sunset.
The sun was going down and the temperature was dropping. We could see the hut in the distance, so we trucked on looking for some warmth.
Tahurangi Lodge is located above the bush line in an alpine environment at 1,500m above sea level on the north side of Mt. Taranaki. The Taranaki Alpine Club was formed in 1930 and very quickly set about putting a hut on the mountain. In 1933 the club started the project, and on June 2nd, 1935 it was officially opened. The lodge was refurbished in 1998 and again in 2013, providing guests with modern facilities.
The views from the hut that evening were pretty spectacular. With the sun setting on the other side of Mt Taranaki, it left a cone-shaped shadow along the flat planes of Taranaki.
We had a good dinner, and hit the hay early as we knew the next day was going to be a big one!
The next morning we rose at 5 am after a good night's rest. Unfortunately, we left our milk at home, so muesli for brekky was off the cards. We had to settle for a couple of bananas each and some trail mix - worked a charm. We set off in the dark at around 5:45 am as we were keen to watch the sunrise somewhere on the way up.
You know what they say, “pink sky at night, shepherd's delight”. They weren’t wrong at all, and we were treated to undoubtedly the most insane sunrise we’ve ever seen.
After sitting and watching the sun come up, we were keen to keep moving and reach the summit in good time. A few hours later we were getting closer to the top and found ourselves getting into some steep terrain that was testing the legs.
Once we reached the crater, we were surprised to see some snow around, and suddenly we realised how cold it actually was up there!
From there, it was only a short 10-minute hike, and soon enough we were at the summit of Mt Taranaki standing 2518m high. We were knackered after a good 4-hours uphill. But the 360-degree views were stellar! We sat down and took it all in. We ate some more trail mix, jet plane lollies, plenty of water, and a cold can of NZ lager for good measure.
After enjoying the views and resting the legs we began our what seemed to be, never-ending descent back to the car park. Safe to say we will be back for more of this place.