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Fanthams Peak, Egmont National Park

Image of the March 2020 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
March 2020 Issue

If you enjoy landscape photography you’ll know the trick to great images is to be in the right location at the right time.

The rightest of times is usually the ‘golden hour’ – that time shortly after dawn and before sunset when the light is at its most spectacular. The right place can mean different things to different people, but ideally, it will involve magnificent scenery. But reaching these kinds of vantage points at sunrise or sunset can sometimes present challenges.

Mt Taranaki is a distinctive and beautiful mountain. Perhaps the best vantage point from which to view and photograph it is Fanthams Peak – the secondary volcanic cone (1966m) protruding from the southern flanks of the mountain. From the peak’s southern rim, you can look north, across the desolate expanse of Fanthams Peak, then up nearly 600m to the summit of Mt Taranaki (2518m) itself. And when you turn around the entire west coast unfolds beyond the green forest circle of the national park and rolling Tara-naki farmlands. On the eastern horizon, Mts Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro appear to hover weightlessly. It’s spectacular.

Gaining access to this spot is relatively straightforward. A three or four-hour climb (crampons and ice axe essential in winter) is all that’s required. On Fanthams Peak is the 10-bunk Syme Hut, which means you can wait in relative comfort for sunset and sunrise, both of which are beautiful seen from here.

If you’re a landscape photographer, a Syme Hut dusk and dawn should be on your bucket list.

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Total Ascent
3-4 ours
Syme Hut ($5,10 bunks)
From the Manaia Road end car park

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Fanthams Peak (gpx, )

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