Like so many great stories, Taranaki’s begins with a love affair.
As a bold young man, Mount Taranaki once stood in the centre of the North Island alongside the mountains of Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe. Taranaki fell in love with pretty Mount Pihanga and constantly battled with Mount Ngauruhoe for her heart.
After a particularly heated battle, which Ngauruhoe ultimately won, Taranaki was banished to the west, making a lonely trek to his current resting place. The trail of tears he left behind over his lost love formed the Whanganui River, and to this day if you catch the mountain behind clouds it is said that he is hiding the tears he still sheds for pretty Pihanga.
These days the 2518m volcanic peak – which last erupted in 1755 – offers countless adventures through untouched bush and alpine environments.
To get the full story head to Puke Ariki – the regional museum, one of the Department of Conservation visitor centres at the top of the North Egmont or Dawson Falls mountain access roads or the recently refurbished Stratford Mountain House.