Looking for a new challenge this year (or for the remainder of your life)? How about ticking off the Wilderness 100?
Welcome to the inaugural Wilderness 100 – an annual list of the best trips in the country. For the website version of this feature story, we've broken the trips down into regions and linked to those trips we've got route notes and maps for.
So, without further ado, here are the best trips in the Taranaki and Whanganui regions.
1. Taranaki Maunga, Egmont National Park
Taranaki’s perfect cone stands tall, overlooking the Tasman Sea and is readily climbed in a day. Its prominence attracts the weather, so come prepared no matter which season you visit. The mountain is sacred to Māori, so while you can climb it, please do not stand on the highest point. DOWNLOAD
2. Syme Hut, Taranaki
The highest public hut in the North Island lies atop Fanthams Peak, with the great southern face of Taranaki rising above. Watch the sunrise over Ruapehu and the gigantic triangular shadow of Taranaki Mounga cast over the Tasman Sea. DOWNLOAD
3. Pouakai Crossing, Egmont National Park
Taranaki’s increasingly popular track is famous for good reason: the perfect symmetry of the volcano, reflected in the tarns of the Pouakai Range. There are also hoary old mountain cedars, the impressive Bells Falls, the Ahukawakawa Wetland and two huts. DOWNLOAD
4. White Cliffs Walkway, Taranaki
Aotearoa’s answer to the Cliffs of Dover, the White Cliffs Walkway leads through the impressive forest to the dramatic cliffs of northern Taranaki. Check the tides and pack a lunch for this 22km coastal adventure.
5. Whanganui River Journey, Whanganui National Park
Every bend in the river reveals secrets of this taonga, from towering canyons of moss and stone to hidden waterfalls and caves. The full journey is an epic 145km paddle from Taumarunui to Pīpīriki, but many opt to drop in at Whakahoro to paddle 88km over three days. The iconic Bridge to Nowhere is accessed by a 3km return walk from the Mangapurua Landing. DOWNLOAD
6. Wilkies Pools Loop Track, Egmont National Park
Water etches impressive features in volcanic rock, nowhere more so than on the south-eastern slopes of Taranaki. While Dawson Falls impress with their power, Wilkies Pools is a more subtle combination of clear pools, short cascades and sculptured rock. Take a circuit past both, perhaps with a night at Waingongoro Hut too. DOWNLOAD