Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Taranaki Lookout

November 20th, 2014

The walk to Taranaki Lookout was our second New Zealand hike. This one was much, much shorter than the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, but very different and fascinating. We did this one the day after Tongariro… well, actually, in the last half of the afternoon. It was only about 6.5 kilometers total, round trip.

This one was a rainforest hike. We walked from the hotel, through the little village of National Park, to a gravel road in a forest reserve. Just walking on the road was fascinating. The tree below is, I believe, a native cypress. Note the epiphytic ferns where the trunk begins to divide.

And this is what the road looks like… on our walk we saw only one other person on the road, a young woman on a bicycle who happened to work at our hotel.

We were following a map that was part of a brochure given to us by the hotel. Here’s the map. Note the distance through the town. Note the distance on the road and then the trail. As it turns out, this was not to scale. I admit I did not actually read the brochure…so before long as we were walking on the road I started to wonder aloud, “Did we miss the trail? We must have missed it. It’s not nearly this far on the map!” As it turns out, the brochure clearly states it’s two kilometers to the beginning of the trail, but the map makes the distance look much, much shorter!

I love the trees in the photo below. They’re called cabbage trees, I think because they are mostly edible. The Maori name is tī kōuka, which is interesting, because a closely related plant common in Hawaii and introduced here by the Hawaiian people, is known as tī (pronunced tee).
Ron and I are both “plant people” and over and over again in New Zealand we saw plant species reminiscent of, but never quite the same as, species we’re familiar with in Hawaii.

If you ever find yourself walking along Fishers Road and looking for the trail to Taranaki Lookout, the car park is your clue. It’s right at the two-kilometer post:

The trailhead, shown below, is directly across from the car park. The sign doesn’t say Taranaki Lookout. Though you can’t quite read it in this photo, it says Tupapakurua Falls. That’s a destination much farther along the track than we ventured, and by the description is much more challenging. The lookout is only a kilometer from the trailhead.

The forest closes in immediately as you set out on the trail. On the afternoon of our hike, the sky was heavy with clouds and rain seemed imminent. It was fairly dark beneath the trees; it was also amazingly beautiful.

As you can see in the photos below, this is definitely a rain forest. Lots of trees, tree ferns, and moss. Surprisingly, there wasn’t much mud at all. Just like Tongariro, this trail was in great shape. There were also little signs posted along the way, identifying many of the plant species.






And here’s the lookout. On a clear day, I assume you can see Mount Taranaki, but it wasn’t visible when we visited. That’s okay. We saw the distant volcano the day before as we hiked the Tongiro Alpine Crossing.

Oh, and I should say that we met only one other person on the trail — another young woman who had hiked on her own all the way to the falls.

This was a short outing — we were back at the hotel well before dark — but it was totally worthwhile.

Posted on: Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 6:00 am
Categories: Hiking, Travel.

2 Responses to “Taranaki Lookout”

  1. Louise Says:

    I did that walk with my father a few years back. It’s a lovely spot.

    I firmly believe that Mount Taranaki goes walkabout. I spent two weeks at my parents place in Taranaki one Christmas and never once saw the mountain, and the living room window in their house looked directly at where it was supposed to be! It’s very strange. You’ll spend days going no mountain, no mountain, no mountain, then suddenly you’ll get up one morning and hey, the mountain’s back.

  2. Linda Says:

    For us, it was there one day and gone the next. We were lucky to see it!