Monday March 9 From Mount Taranaki to the Tasman Sea

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At 2518m high, Mount Taranaki sits in the middle of Egmont National Park, and is a relative volcanic baby at 125,000 years of age.  It last erupted in 1755.

Like most mountains, it is often shrouded in clouds, although the peak is frequently visible above the clouds.  Today was our only hike day so, despite the low cloud cover, we picked a hike that would satisfy my need for views along with Peter’s need for rainforest. And we set off along the Maketawa Hut Round Trip.

The first third of the hike went through astoundingly lush rainforest territory.  We have never seen the vegetation and plants that grew up, around and over the whole trail.  Spectacular.

We then started climbing, and climbing, and climbing.  Probably about 1,000m in total climb although still well below the peak. But there were no views as a reward for our climb – only enough to see what could have been magnificent 360s. But, we knew the weather wasn’t going to cooperate so it wasn’t a surprise, and no regrets for an energetic hike.

After that, we drove over to the west coast and saw, for the first time, the Tasman Sea.  It sounds SO exotic to me, but it actually just looks like a regular ocean!  We checked out the beach below the White Cliffs and the beach scenery was pretty interesting.  Peter went nuts with the abstract rock formations along and below the cliffs.  The sand was very black, so equally dramatic.  Very unusual scenery.

We stayed in New Plymouth, an enviable location with both ocean and mountains within easy reach.

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