Monday, January 8, 2018

Snapshots: Egmont National Park

New Zealand's North Island has three national parks: Egmont, Whanganui, and Tongariro. On this trip we selected Egmont and Whanganui, two of New Zealand's less-visited parks.

We've spent two days hiking Egmont's lovely trails, with two more days to go.

Saturday January 6
9:50a Wellington Central Railway Station, Platform 9 (Bus)
12:10p Palmerston North
City bus 10 minutes, walk 10 minutes to Palmerston North Airport PMR.
1:00p Pick up car, Avis
Egmont National Park
Sunday January 7
Dawson Falls Mountain Lodge
Monday January 8
Dawson Falls Mountain Lodge
Tuesday January 9
Dawson Falls Mountain Lodge
Wednesday January 10
Dawson Falls Mountain Lodge

We drove into Egmont National Park through a spectacular tree tunnel. The road was narrow, so I did not dare stop the car and take photos.

We checked into one of the twelve guest rooms at Dawson Falls Mountain Lodge, our home for the next five nights. Trails start right next to the lodge.

The initial view was clouds. During dinner, the clouds opened to reveal Mount Taranaki. Next day we would walk to the first peak of the mountain, Fanthams Peak/Panitahi.
The first part of the walk took us through a forest of trees that have been described as "goblin fingers."
Eventually forest gave way to open land, then, finally, volcanic scree. For over an hour of the ascent, we scrambled, crawled on all fours, and tumbled on the unstable surface.

Eventually, we saw a hut close to the Panitahi summit.
Near the hut, I was taken by the sight of the toilet, tied down with ropes.
We turned around at the hut at 6,450 feet and rode the scree back down. We'd need ice axes, crampons, and the skill to reach the summit of Mount Taranaki at 8,261 feet.

Next day we stuck to more horizontal, forest tracks to give our legs a chance to recover. This was more relaxed walking, so we had time to pause and savor our surroundings.
Dancing trees.
We stopped to enjoy furry trees, hosts to mosses and epiphytes.
Dwight would take the camera off me to capture smaller details.
We lost count of the waterfalls.
At the end of each day we relaxed and enjoyed top-notch dinners at the lodge.
Egmont National Park.

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