A deep dive onto Taranaki
The slopes of Taranaki have long drawn adventurers. One day in 1887, a party led by Thomas Dawson (after whom Dawson Falls is named) ascended the subsidiary cone known as Panatahi, near the mountain’s southern slopes.
Famously, the group decided to re-name the peak after their youngest member, 19-year-old Fanny Fantham, the first woman to reach it. As they descended, another of the mountaineers, 22-year-old Bradshaw Dive, caught a glimpse of what he thought looked like a lake, but the others dismissed this as a mirage.
The following month, Dawson hacked his way through the forest to reach the lake and confirmed that the sharp-eyed Dive had been correct. So it became Lake Dive.
The only sizable body of water in Egmont National Park, the overgrown tarn occupies a depression behind two curiously-shaped mounds known as the Beehives. Situated on a ledge just east of the lake, Lake Dive Hut has commanding views of Fanthams Peak and Taranaki.
Two tracks lead to the lake from Dawson Falls, which can be combined to make a worthwhile circuit. The Upper Lake Dive Track follows the main Fanthams Peak Track until above the bushline, where it sidles steep slopes beneath the Snow Bowl, then descends through colourful forest, peppered by horopito, to Lake Dive.
The easier Lower Lake Dive Track sidles gentler slopes entirely in the forest. Egmont National Park has no beech forest, so it is instead species such as kamahi and Hall’s totara that dominate. At this altitude, the forest is somewhat stunted, and draped in moss, and subsequently known as goblin forest.
- 13km (round trip)
- Total Ascent
- Upper Lake Dive Track, 4-5hr; Lower Lake Dive Track, 3hr
- Lake Dive Hut ($15, 16 bunks)
- Dawson Falls Visitor Centre, Egmont National Park