Our highlights in the Taranaki region – Backpacking Tips

Here you can find our personal highlights around Mount Taranaki (Mount Egmont)

Around Taranaki (also called Mount Egmont) you will find countless beautiful places. Today we will show you our most beautiful places in the Taranaki region and also some nice Freedom Camping spots that are available there.

Have fun exploring the region and we would be happy if you would like to add a comment to our tips.


Cape Egmont Lighthouse and Museum

At Cape Egmont there is not only an idyllically situated lighthouse but also a small museum about the history of the region. From here there are some nice photos that made it on different postcards. In this case the lighthouse and Mount Taranaki in the background. Unfortunately, the museum is only open on some days, so if you want to visit the museum check the opening hours. If the weather is good you can see Mount Taranaki (Mount Egmont) in the background. Mount Taranaki is one of the most symmetrical mountains in the world.

If you are already in the region, the lighthouse is worth a detour. But we would not go there just for the lighthouse.


Brooklands Zoo

Brooklands Zoo is one of the few and small zoos in New Zealand. Here you can find mainly various native birds, Kuni Kuni pigs, some turtles and llamas.

Entrance is free and you can donate whatever you feel the visit was worth. We spent one or two hours there and especially spent a lot of time in the aviary. Because New Zealand has some (though rather unknown) native bird species that you can see there.

Right next to the zoo there is also a nice park where you can spend some time. When the weather is good there is also an open-air stage in the public park where events and concerts are held.


Vogel im Brooklands Zoo

You can't just find beautiful birds at the Brooklands Zoo


Te Rewa Rewa Bridge and Lake Rotomanu

The Te Rewa Rewa bridge is an architectural masterpiece and is modelled on the skeleton of a whale. There are already countless pictures of the bridge, but only a few have the luck to catch a glimpse of Mount Taranaki (Mount Egmont).

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Along the sea there is also a nice path for walking or cycling. And around Lake Rotomanu there is a designated Freedom Campsite which also has a few pitches for non-self-contained vehicles.

We spent two nights there at the lake and enjoyed the time. In good weather a perfect place to relax, enjoy the lake and have some nice days.

Unfortunately, swimming in the lake is not recommended, but there are always locals who do their laps there with jet ski, kayak or SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board).


Te Rewa Rewa Bridge

Te Rewa Rewa Bridge and Mount Taranaki hidden in the background


Lake Mangamahoe (Mount Egmont Reflection)

At Lake Mangamahoe there is a small spot from where you can see the reflection of Mount Taranaki (Mount Egmont) snow-covered peak when the weather is good.

More by chance we have made a short stop there. However, in our experience the lake is only accessible during the day and an overnight stay is not allowed there either.


Mangorei Track and Pouakai Tarns (Mount Taranaki Reflection)

The Pouakai Tarns are a great treasure and became famous especially through Instagram. Via the so called Mangorei Track you first go to the Pouakai Hut, from there you can continue in 30 minutes to the Pouakai Tarns.

In the Pouakai Tarns you can see the reflection of Mount Taranaki (Mount Egmont) and in good weather you will have a super nice reflection.

As you are at a considerable height there, we recommend you take a jacket against the wind. The hike first leads through beautiful jungle and many steps up to the ridge.

If you want to spend the sunrise or sunset at Pouakai Tarn, we recommend you to spend the night in the Pouakai Hut. Because from there you are quickly on the Tarn and can then comfortably spend the night in the hut. But be aware that the hut is well frequented depending on the season and can sometimes be completely occupied. To stay overnight in the hut, you must buy a hut ticket from the DOC beforehand. This currently costs 15 NZD per adult. The Pouakai Hut is the most popular hut around Mount Taranaki (Mount Egmont) Enjoy the hike. For us the hike was an unexpected highlight in the region.


Reflection of Mount Taranaki in the Pouakai Tarns

Pouakai Tarns Reflection


North Egmont Visitor Centre and Mount Taranaki (Mount Egmont)

In the North Egmont Visitor Centre, you can get a good overview of the possible walks on and around Mount Taranaki (Mount Egmont). You will get direct advice from the staff to find a suitable hike according to your experience.

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Additionally, there is some information including nice videos of the mountain. We liked the visitor centre very much.

If you are hiking in the region, there is also a directory where you can register for the duration of your hike. If you do not sign out at the end of the walk (or something happens to you), a search will be started with this information. In your own interest you should use this free service for more demanding or longer hikes.


North Egmont Visitor Center

Sundown at the North Egmont Visitor Center


Forgotten World Highway (SH43)

The Forgotten World Highway (SH43) runs from Stratford to Taumarunui. As one of the few State Highways you can still drive over good gravel. There are also some single-lane tunnels which are big enough for bigger campers. Only with a truck the way over the Forgotten World Highway is probably not ideal.

Before you take the Forgotten World Highway, make sure you have filled up your tank, because there is no petrol station between Stratford and Taumarunui.

Along the Forgotten World Highway there are some nice places to see and you will also cross some lower passes. The Forgotten World Highway looks like it did 100 years ago.

Only few tourists drive this route and some rental companies explicitly exclude driving on the Forgotten World Highway in their rental conditions. Nevertheless, we recommend you to drive on the Forgotten World Highway. It is one of the most beautiful highways and decelerates automatically due to the nature of the route.


Start of the Forgotten World Highway (SH43) in Stratford

Start of the Forgotten World Highway (SH43) in Stratford


Elizabethan Bell Tower including bell tower Stratford

In Stratford there is the Elizabethan Belfry. Here at 10am, 1pm, 3pm and 7pm Shakespeare plays music and a short extract from Romeo and Juliet.

Unfortunately, it's right on the main road, but if you're around at one of these times anyway, it's worth a short stop. Otherwise there is not much to see in Stratford and we stopped only for the bell tower.


Elizabethan Clock Tower

Elizabethan Clock Tower


Questions, comments or further tips

Do you have any other tips for the Wellington region? Then we look forward to your comment here under the articles.


More posts to the New Zealand Regions

We have made a map for your easy navigation, with which you can visit the respective contribution to the region directly. Have a look around what we like in the other regions!



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