10 Best Things to Do in Egmont National Park
10 Best Things to Do in Egmont National Park

10 Best Things to Do in Egmont National Park

© NZPocketGuide.com

Attractions, Hikes and Activities in the Egmont National Park

A striking scene from the sky, from the hiking trails, from the nearby towns, and even from space with its perfectly circular boundary, the Egmont National Park is just as enticing as close-up as it looks from beyond. Its forests are like that from a fairytale with gnarled trees covered in moss, while the alpine tops are serene and feature spectacular views of the ever-present volcanic cone of Mt Taranaki. Of course, hiking is the obvious way to explore this national park, but taking a helicopter flight, skiing or even visiting the museum-like displays of the visitor centres adds a little variety. Discover all of these and more in this list of the best things to do in the Egmont National Park.

1. Check Out Dawson Falls

One of the most picturesque waterfalls in the Egmont National Park, Dawson Falls is not to be missed. Either see the falls on the 10-minute one-way access track from Manaia Road or make more of an adventure out of it by taking the Kapuni Loop Track and/or Wilkies Pools Loop Track adding an extra one hour to 1h20mins to your walk. See more walks like this in The Top 50 North Island Walks.

Location: The Dawson Falls walk and Kapuni Loop Track is along Manaia Road near the Dawson Falls Visitor Centre or start the Wilkies Pools Loop Track just beyond the visitor centre, approximately 23km (14 miles) from Stratford.

10 Best Things to Do in Egmont National Park© NZPocketGuide.com

2. Hike the Pouakai Circuit

Rivalling the New Zealand Great Walks but without the overly expensive huts, the Pouakai Circuit takes you around some of the Egmont National Park’s most impressive volcanic features. The landscape is a mix of verdant forest, open alpine tussock fields with breathtaking views of Mt Taranaki, and the fragile alpine environment of Ahukawakawa Swamp. Allow two to three days to complete the walk.

Location: There are several access points to the track, the most popular being from the North Egmont Visitor Centre, Egmont Road, approximately 28km (17 miles) from New Plymouth.

10 Best Things to Do in Egmont National Park© Unsplash

3. Tramp to the Mt Taranaki Summit

For those looking for a real full-day challenge, an impressive peak to bag is the Mt Taranaki Summit. Only doable independently between December and April when snow is less likely to cover the mountain, the Mt Taranaki Summit is a vertical climb taking five to six hours up and around three to four hours down. Needless to say, the views of the surrounding Taranaki region are outstanding on a clear day.

Location: Start from the North Egmont Visitor Centre, Egmont Road, approximately 28km (17 miles) from New Plymouth.

10 Best Things to Do in Egmont National Park© Unsplash

4. Do the Pouakai Crossing

Forget the Tongariro Crossing, the Pouakai Crossing is a close rival and far less crowded. The 7h30mins to 9h30mins hike is a day version of the Pouakai Circuit (see above), which encompasses a waterfall, mossy swampland and tarns reflecting the volcanic cone of Mt Taranaki. The one-way hike requires transport, which is available with Ducks & Drakes and Taranaki Mountain Shuttles. Guided hikes are available with Top Guides Taranaki.

Location: Start from the North Egmont Visitor Centre, Egmont Road, approximately 28km (17 miles) from New Plymouth.

10 Best Things to Do in Egmont National Park© Unsplash

5. Check Out the Visitor Centres

More than just a desk with a few leaflets, the visitor centres of the Egmont National Park are an attraction in themselves! The North Egmont Visitor Centre, also known as the Taranaki / Egmont National Park Visitor Centre, has full museum-like displays about the national park, as well as a cafe and gift shop. The Dawson Falls Visitor Centre offers interactive maps and a mock-up of an old hut inside.

Location: North Egmont Visitor Centre – Egmont Road, approximately 28km (17 miles) from New Plymouth. Dawson Falls Visitor Centre – Manaia Road, approximately 23km (14 miles) from Stratford.

10 Best Things to Do in Egmont National Park© NZPocketGuide.com

6. Ski at the Manganui Ski Area

Describing itself as a “no-frills ski area”, Manganui is Taranaki’s very own club field. Two rope tows and a T-bar get you up the hill. Note that conditions vary and can be inconsistent during the winter season, as the ski area purely relies on mother nature. Learn more in the Top 24 Ski Fields in New Zealand.

Location: Access is from the Stratford Plateau car park on Pembroke Road, approximately 18km (11 miles) from Stratford.

10 Best Things to Do in Egmont National Park© Manganui Ski Area Stratford Mountain Club

7. Walk the York Road Loop

See another side of the Egmont National Park with remains of a historic railway quarry on the York Road Loop Track. While you can refer to a handy factsheet detailing all of the 10 numbered points of interest along the walk, it’s simply a pleasant three-hour walk to see how nature has taken back the area.

Location: York Road, approximately 15km (9 miles) from Stratford.

10 Best Things to Do in Egmont National Park© Tamsen Walker - Department of Conservation

8. Venture Through the “Goblin Forest” on the Kamahi Loop Track

One of the eastern roads to access the Egmont National Park takes you to the enchanting forests of the Kamahi Loop Track. Only 15 to 30 minutes to walk, the loop track takes you through knobbly trees thick with moss, giving the forest its reputation as the “Goblin Forest”.

Location: Start from above Stratford Mountain House, Pembroke Road, approximately 15km (9 miles) from Stratford.

10 Best Things to Do in Egmont National Park© NZPocketGuide.com

9. Fly Over Mt Taranaki in a Helicopter

Fly over the region of Taranaki and see the distinctive boundary of the Egmont National Park on a scenic helicopter flight. Ice Aviation, Precision Helicopters and SkyWest Aviation all offer stunning scenic flights from New Plymouth. See more experiences like this in the 7 Luxury Activities in New Plymouth.

Location: Flights depart from New Plymouth Airport, approximately 11km (6.8 miles) from New Plymouth.

10 Best Things to Do in Egmont National Park© Pexels

10. Tackle the Around the Mountain Circuit

The final one of the best things to do in the Egmont National Park is circumventing the slopes of Mt Taranaki on the Around the Mountain Circuit. From October to April, escape to the wilderness for four to five days as you tackle with hike awash in lush forest and alpine landscapes.

Location: While there are many access points to the track, the most popular is via the North Egmont Visitor Centre, Egmont Road, approximately 28km (17 miles) from New Plymouth.

10 Best Things to Do in Egmont National Park© Unsplash

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