This week the Herald is profiling different hikes you can do to get fit. We have enlisted Robert Bruce, founder of Got To Get Out, to write about his favourite adventures.
The adventure in a sentence:
Mt Taranaki is an exciting and stunningly beautiful mountain with activities for adventurers of all levels.
Where is it?
Egmont National Park. About a six-hour drive from Auckland or a short flight from most airports around New Zealand.
Where to stay?
We chose the DOC owned 'Camp House', a 34-bunk dorm near the North Egmont Visitor Centre. This wonderful old building is comfortable and has a great size kitchen.
About the adventure:
Mt Taranaki is home to some of New Zealand's most stunning scenery and the well-formed tracks provide activities for beginners through to experienced climbers.
How long does it take?
Depending what route you take, the length and time varies.
• Pouakai Hut to North Egmont Visitor Centre (two days)
• North Egmont Visitor Centre to Holly Hut (two days)
• Visitor Centre up Holly track then Kokowhai Loop walk (six hours return to the Camp House)
Difficulty rating (1-5): 3
The different tracks will determine the fitness, experience and the gear you require.
The short day walks departing the North Egmont Visitor Centre can be done in an hour or two.
The full Pouakai Loop is a tough three to four days requiring sleeping gear, food, cookers and reasonable fitness.
In some places on the Holly Hut track the track has washed away and some tracks have deep mud too.
In general the paths are marked well and the going is easy, allowing you to take in the stunning views of the Taranaki.
Only attempt the summit climb in summer and make sure you have the right gear, experience and possibly guides with you too.
What to bring?
Like any hike in New Zealand's outdoors you need to be prepared.
What you take will depend on what difficult of activity you are doing but the bare minimums for hiking in this area include water, suitable clothing, sun protection, food, and a personal first aid kit.
If you are staying overnight on one of the tracks, you will need a sleeping roll because some huts are not book able. You should take a sleeping bag and liner, head torch, matches for the fire in some huts, gas cooker and enough food.
Adventures going into nature may want to consider a personal locator beacon (PLB) that can be deployed to alert search and rescue if you have an accident and need rescuing.
Other vital info:
It is advisable when getting out in to nature to travel with someone else for safety and to let someone know your intentions.
The best time of year for a summit climb is the summer months of February to mid-April, when the ice has melted. When Got To Get Out hiked in November, ice axes and crampons were needed to get to the summit.
You want to take good quality gear, ideally gaiters or at least trousers to stop piles of debris going into your boots.
Why I recommend it:
Hiking up or around Mt Taranaki gives you amazing views from nearly every direction; each walk has remarkable different views and the air is fresh.
The DOC staff in the Visitor Centre are marvellous, accommodating, friendly and knowledgeable. Call them to ask about weather conditions or track closures, before leaving home.
There's something for everyone when you get out up Mt Taranaki.