Mount Taranaki or Egmont National Park
(2,518 m) is the mountain, which in superb symmetrical isolation dominates the landscape of the province of Taranaki. Its near perfect conical shape is broken by one outcrop, a secondary cone called Fanthams Peak, to the south. The Maori name, Taranaki, means 'barren mountain'.
One of the most famous of all Maori legends tells how Egmont was banished from the Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe cluster in the central North Island after a fight for the affection of beautiful Mt Pihanga.
The mountain was named Egmont by James Cook, when he first sighted it in January 1770, after the second Earl of Egmont, a former First Lord of the Admiralty. It has since had the Maori name, Taranaki, reinstated as an option. The first Europeans to reach the summit were German naturalist Ernst Dieffenbach and a whaler James Heberley.
Cape Egmont is the most westerly point on the Taranaki coastline, originally named 'Cabo Pieter Boreels' by Abel Tasman who spotted the cape in December 1642. Egmont Village, near Inglewood, and Egmont Road, a railway station northeast of New Plymouth, have also taken the name.
Things to do in the Mount Taranaki or Egmont National Park:
- Try a few easy walks that are off the main access roads
- Walk from Dawson Falls to experience other beautiful waterfalls
- Experience the hanging mosses of the Goblin Forest walk to Wilkies Pools
- Take a 5-day hike around the base of the mountain
- Hire a local guide and hike to the summit
- In winter a Ski club operates a field on the mountain, go for a ski
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