Or call +44 (0)1298 74040 and speak to one of our experts.
Wind across the lower slopes of the Mt Taranaki - discover towering cliffs, a mighty waterfall, a sphagnum moss swamp and stunning views on this day walk version of the popular 2—3 day Pouakai Circuit.
New Zealand's newest "great walk"
On the slopes of spectacular Mt Taranaki, the Pouakai Crossing – New Zealand’s newest guided walking trail – is a thrilling one-day hike exploring a varied volcanic and alpine landscape that has a significant cultural history.
This 19 kilometre (12 mile) wilderness trail through Egmont National Park is being heralded as the country’s newest ‘great walk’, showcasing a curious primeval landscape circumnavigating the picture-perfect volcanic cone of Mt Taranaki (2518m).
Mt Taranaki is a spiritually important landmark for MÄori, and historic MÄori pa (fortified villages) throughout Taranaki tell stories of the region’s culture and history.
Taranaki means ‘Gliding Peak’. MÄori legend recounts how Taranaki – who once lived with the other great volcanoes (Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe) – was banished after falling in love with Tongariro’s wife Pihanga. As Taranaki travelled west towards the setting sun, his tears carved out the Whanganui River. According to legend, Taranaki is hiding his tears when cloud covers the mountain.
The Pouakai Crossing is a great way to experience the diversity of New Zealand’s landscapes. It only takes a day to complete but, unlike some of the most popular walks, the walking traffic is still relatively sparse so you really can get away from it all as you discover a New Zealand that is little changed from ancient times.
The Pouakai Crossing is a self guided walk following a well marked paths however we can arrange guided tours with experienced mountain guides who know Mt Taranaki like the back of their hands.
The Goblin Forest
The crossing begins in a dense forest filled with the curious twisted forms of ancient trees and lush native plants. The track is lined with ferns and moss that eerily creep up the trees — providing good marker points to help navigate this remote and rugged rainforest.
Towering lava cliffs
From the native forest, the track passes through an impressive reminder of past volcanic activity in the form of towering lava cliffs. While Mt Taranaki hasn’t seen any volcanic activity since the 1860s when a lava dome was produced in the crater, it is still classed as an active but quiescent stratovolcano. This means that the mistical mountain has been in a dormant state for a long time.
There are a variety of wetlands on the Pouakai Crossing where you can watch communities of native wildlife -from small reptiles to beetles, huhu grubs and rare birds — thriving in the untouched natural habitat as you continue your walk. Mount Taranaki’s wetlands are also the habitat of an ancient carnivorous giant land snail which eats worms and can grow to nine centimetres in length.
The Dieffenbach Cliffs
Beyond the uphill stretch on Razorback Ridge and down beside the Waiwhakaiho River, walkers pass into the shadow of the giant Dieffenbach Cliffs. The cliffs are named after the young German explorer Ernst Dieffenbach who, in 1839, organised one of the first European summit climbs of the mountain. On a clear day from the top there are spectacular views of New Plymouth city and sometimes Mount Ruapehu in the distance.