Kia ora: Egmont Village

Elisabeth Easther finds a quiet town dominated by a mountain.
Mt Taranaki looms behind dairy cows grazing in a paddock. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Mt Taranaki looms behind dairy cows grazing in a paddock. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Where is it? In North Taranaki, smack bang on State Highway 3, with New Plymouth 12km to the northwest and Inglewood 6km to the southeast.

Origin of name: Egmont Village is named for the mountain which is also called Taranaki today. And, if you were wondering, Egmont was named by Captain Cook for the Earl of Egmont, First Lord of the Admiralty.

Population: 483.

Popular: This town is popular and to prove it lots of families have been in the area for five generations. People who leave often return.

Best website: brauhaus.co.nz.

Big business: It's mainly dairy farming, followed by tourism because Egmont Village is one of the main access points to Mt Taranaki. However, the concrete works on the corner is the biggest employer.

Source of pride: Mt Taranaki is spectacular. As are the daffodils in front of the school in spring.

Town wing-dings: The midwinter potluck dinner is a jolly good shindig.

Here for a short time? Visit the mountain, no question about it.

Best reason to stop: Cheap petrol. For some reason the area doesn't up the prices. You can get coffee and food there, too.

Best place to take the kids: Aside from the mountain, Lake Mangamahoe is amazing. It means 'meeting of the waters' and you'll find ducks and swans and picnic tables and you can circumnavigate the lake on foot, or on horseback if you have one because it's also a bridle path.

Best playground: Egmont Village Primary School has a beauty of a playground and an excellent skateboard bowl. So don't just bring your horse, bring your skateboard, too.

Best walk: There are loads of walks up the mountain, from little wanders to major hikes. In summer the summit climb is awesome while year-round Lake Mangamahoe is where you should go.

Best view: Drive up to North Egmont on Mt Taranaki where there's an amazing lookout. Although everywhere looks amazing provided the mountain is prepared to show itself to you.

Best place to pull over: Egmont Rd in front of the VolcaNo View Grande Cafe & Restaurant - and make sure you have your camera.

Best swim: In summer, the school pool. The Waiwhakaiho River is also cooling although it's pretty big so do be careful, or maybe, to be on the safe side, just look at it. And don't try swimming in the lake unless you like soaking in bird poo.

Best museum: The Taranaki Aviation and Transport Museum consists of six buildings filled with farm equipment, vehicles, aircraft, printing, electrical and communications equipment, a post office display, office items, a marine section and other fascinating items from years gone by. It is open only weekends.

Tops for coffee: VolcaNo View Grande Cafe & Restaurant, it's a sight for sore eyes.

Best bakery: There isn't one, so if you fancy turning over a new leaf move to Egmont Village and open one.

Best food: Cow Ree Cottage Cafe and Restaurant at 1281 Egmont Rd. It's quite new, and rather fabulous, open night and day.

Best shop: Up the mountain, next to the Egmont National Park Visitor Centre, there's a super shop that sells all sorts of souvenirs, including warming possum products.

Wet your whistle: Wassail Brauhaus Bed & Breakfast is famous for its in-house craft brewery. Complimentary house beers are brewed on site in a micro-brewery, and they're accompanied by seasonal snacks. The beer and nibbles are available only to accommodation guests so don't just nip in expecting a free feed. There are lots of lovely animals living there too, and guests may bring their dogs with them.

Best mountainbiking: You can ride your bike around Lake Mangamahoe, five minutes' drive from Egmont Village, or check out Busing Forest - it is off Scout Rd, which is off Kent Rd, opposite the lake. It's awesome.

Best adventure: Climbing on Mt Taranaki is great fun for anyone - big kids to little kids all love going up there.

Wildlife: There are lots of native birds, fantails, tui, kingfishers and moreporks.

It's a gas: Check out the historic mural at the service station, which depicts the history of the place and is rather impressive.

Safety warnings: If the road is icy on the way up to North Egmont don't drive up the mountain unless you have a four-wheel-drive with chains. And don't speed through the village, that's just rude.

Locals say: if you can see the mountain it's going to rain, if you can't see it, it is raining.

Visitors say: That's one heck of a mountain.

Otherwise: Wish I'd brought my umbrella.

Thanks to Marlene, from Brauhaus, for spilling the beans.

- NZ Herald

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