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What to Bring on Your Mt Taranaki Summit in Winter & Summer

What to Bring on Your Mt Taranaki Summit in Winter & Summer

Tramping to the summit of Mt Taranaki is a challenging, but worthwhile accomplishment. However, the weather can be fickle and seasonal changes can greatly affect how to be prepared for your trip. So, what should you bring? 

We’ve broken it down by what month you’ll be visiting as each season will be a different experience. 

But first: getting there. 

Shuttle up the mountain 

Taking a shuttle is the easiest option to start your journey to the summit of Taranaki. Services will pick you up right at the entrance of our park and bring you back when you’re done. This will also help to alleviate the car park up the mountain, as it can get full quickly. 

There are three main shuttle options to get to North Egmont Visitor Centre, which is at the start of the summit track. Each will have slightly varied pick-up times and pricing. 

  • Mt Taranaki Pouakai Crossing Shuttle – 027 497 3908 
  • Taranaki Moutain Shuttle – 027 270 2932 
  • Ducks and Drakes Shuttle – 06 758 0404 

Okay, now let’s be sure you’re prepared... 

Winter Taranaki summit

Taranaki Summit Between May and November 

From about May to November, the mountain is covered in ice and snow. You will need a certain level of experience mountaineering as there are increased risks including sub-zero temperatures, extreme weather and avalanche terrain. 

The track to the summit at this time of year is very icy in sections and markers will not be visible. 

To summit during these months, you must have the equipment and skills to prevent a slide on icy terrain, be knowledgeable about avalanche risks and have the ability to rescue someone should an avalanche occur, and have appropriate clothing. You should also have survival know-how if weather worsens. 

Winter Summit 

Department of Conservation (DOC) suggests 9 hours to complete the summit climb. Consider there are just 9-11 hours of daylight in winter months, so plan accordingly and be prepared for the possibility of turning back if conditions become unsafe or if your pace is too slow. 

On a nice winter day, the summit can be 20°C colder than New Plymouth. DOC suggests subtracting an additional 2°C per 10km/h of wind, meaning a 15°C day in New Plymouth would be about -5°C at the summit. Brr! 

Not only will it be cold and icy, but conditions can change quickly. You should be avalanche alert, have a transceiver and probe, plus a snow shovel. Also be sure to check the forecast for potential hazards. 

Summit Taranaki in Winter is icy

What to Pack in Winter 

  • Base layer (polypropylene/merino) 
  • Insulation layer (fleece/wool) 
  • Waterproof jacket, pants, gloves 
  • Sunscreen 
  • Helmet and warm hat 
  • Sturdy tramping or mountaineering boots 
  • Crampons 
  • Ice axe 
  • Avalanche transceiver and probe 
  • Snow shovel 
  • Plenty of drinking water and food 
  • Mobile phone, personal locator beacon 
  • Headtorch and spare batteries 
  • Map, compass, or GPS 

Don’t forget to check New Zealand Avalanche Advisory and MetService for forecast and weather advisory. You can even speak with someone at North Egmont Visitor Centre who will have the most updated information. 

If you are not confident with knowing the route, it is suggested to hire a DOC-approved mountain guide. 

Summit Taranaki in summer is best for trampers

Taranaki Summit Between December and April 

From about December to April, the mountain is typically clear of snow and ice (apart from the crater). 

The weather during this time of year is mostly fine, but don’t assume a sunny day in New Plymouth will be just as nice on the mountain as the weather can turn quickly up there. It is still advised to keep an eye on the weather forecast and be prepared to turn back if the weather becomes bad. 

For novice trampers, you can hire a DOC-approved guide or bring a map of the route to ensure you don’t lose your way from the main track.  

Summer Summit 

Standing tall at 2518m, this dormant volcano is a challenging 1.6km vertical climb to the top. 

The start of track is located at North Egmont Visitor  

From North Egmont Visitor Centre, it’s a 1,492m steep walk to Tahurangi Lodge – a great place to stay the night if you’re wanting to make the most of your summit trip. The lodge has electricity and a fully equipped kitchen, and can accommodate up to 26 people in two bunk rooms. You’ll need to bring your own sleeping bag and food. 

The only toilet is 100 m below the lodge – use it when you go past as there are no other options past this point. 

Once at the lodge, it’s another 2.3km to the summit – a good 3-4hr climb.  

The track heads up via a numbered poled route through the rocky Hongi Valley and a series of steps leads out of the valley and onto steep scoria (loose gravel rock) slopes. Beware of rockfall. Keep your pace slow and steady to avoid slipping. 

The path will continue up to the Lizard – a prominent rocky ridge that leads to the crater’s entrance. A narrow rocky ledge leads down into the crater, with a steep drop-off and an icy surface. Extreme caution is required. 

You’ll then cross the crater ice to the final short climb up to the summit rock. 

Mt Taranaki is a mauri (life force) and spiritual tupuna (ancestor) to Māori. Respect the mounga (mountain) and do not stand directly on the summit peak. Please also do not camp, cook, toilet or litter in the summit area. 

What to bring for Taranaki Summit

What to Pack in Summer 
  • Plenty of drinking water and food 
  • Good tramping shoes or mountaineering boots 
  • Warm and cool layers 
  • Walking sticks (optional) 
  • Mobile phone, personal locator beacon 
  • Headtorch and spare batteries 
  • Map, compass, or GPS 

Don’t forget to check MetService for forecast and weather advisory. You can also speak with someone at North Egmont Visitor Centre who will have the most updated information. 

Be prepared to turn back if you find the climb too difficult or the weather turns. Thick clouds can often descend, making navigation difficult. 

If you are not a confident tramper, hire a DOC-approved mountain guide to take you up safely.