21 May Top 5 of the Best Instagram Worthy Walks To Do in Taranaki
Planning a trip to the North Island’s west coast? Taranaki has some of the most Instagram-worthy walks to show off to friends when you come this way. Here are our top five picks for where to snap the best shots.
1. The Pouakai Circuit
The Pouakai Circuit is one of NZ’s greatest walks. And you’ll see why during this 2-3 day excursion winding across the lower slopes of Mt Taranaki, venturing through some of the most beautiful areas of Egmont National Park.
The circuit displays centuries of volcanic activity with the active erosion scar of the Boomerang slip, the towering columns of the Dieffenbach cliffs, and the red water of the Kokowai Stream caused by manganese oxide oozing from the earth.
The walk takes you through the fragile Ahukawakawa Swamp, golden tussocks, summer flowers with a side trip to the Stony River’s Bells Falls and is a great choice for adventurers seeking to experience the beauty of rainforests, tussock highlands, alpine swamps, and volcanic features.
If you can’t commit to the full experience, the 8-9 hour day walk version will be the perfect fit. On the Pouakai Crossing, you will discover towering cliffs, a mighty waterfall, a sphagnum moss swamp, and stunning views.
2. Whitecliffs Walkway
There are three walking options along the Whitecliffs Walkway: Pukearuhe to Wai Pingao Stream, returning to Pukearuhe via the beach (low tide only): 3 – 4 hr / 6.5 km; Pukearuhe to Mt Messenger: 6 – 7 hr / 11 km; Pukearuhe to the stock tunnel (return the same way): 3 – 4 hr / 11km one way.
The walkway crosses open farmland to Mt Davidson, where it enters Ngati Tama land. It then follows the pipeline route along the ridge tops before descending to the Wai Pingao Stream.
The walkway continues across the Wai Pingao Stream bridge before climbing to the Parininihi Ridge high point and descending to the junction with the Mt Messenger Track.
The walkway continues along the cliff tops to the historic stock tunnel, where the track ends.
3. Mt Taranaki Summit Track
Getting to the peak of Mt Taranaki is no small feat – and one to be avoided in winter. But avid hikers keen to take on the 12.6km tramp up 2518m will enjoy quite the view and sense of accomplishment.
For non-mountaineers, the best time to climb the mountain is from January to April when the mountain is often clear of snow and ice, other than in the crater.
Please respect the spiritual significance to Maori of this mighty ancestor by not standing on the very highest point.
The adventure will take between 8-10 hours from start to finish, but the views from the top will make the journey worth it. Look down the eroding western slopes to the lahar-covered farmland. South is Fanthams Peak and North is the Ahukawakawa Swamp and out to the Kaitake Range.
Leave early to give yourself enough time to return to the bottom before sunset.
4. Goblin Forest
For an easier and more magical stroll, explore the wonderfully enchanting Goblin Forest. This family-friendly walk sits on the slopes of Mt Taranaki and is full of twisted mossy kamahi trees, which gives it its mysterious look.
Otherwise known as the Kamahi Walk, this trail is an easy 600m loop track that wanders through the lush rainforest.
You can tack on the Wilkie’s Pool track while you’re here to add to the magical excursion.
5. Paritutu Rock
Another short walk option is the 156m Paritutu Rock – an iconic sight in the New Plymouth landscape.
The remnants of an ancient volcanic crater which was active approximately 1.75 million years ago, Paritutu Rock is kept company by the seven Sugar Loaf Islands, also remnants from the volcano.
This brief, but steep climb is a 20-minute challenge worth the 360-degree views. See the coastline wrap around the city with the beloved maunga Taranaki towering behind.
About halfway up the steps stop, and a rocky climb guided only by a single chain will bring you the rest of the way. You’ll need to be a little brave and patient as the path is narrow.
After your descent, enjoy the rest of your day at Back Beach – a popular spot for surfers and fun time for kids sliding down the sand dunes. On the other side of Paritutu Rock is Ngamotu Beach, a family-friendly, safe swimming beach.
There are tons of wonderfully exciting things to do when visiting Taranaki. If you’re looking to save some money on your holiday, check out our list of the best free things to do during your stay!