NZ富士 タラナキ山(Mt.Taranaki)



Mt. Taranaki (2,518m) is the second highest mountain on the North Island of New Zealand. It is a cone-shaped, stratovolcano and looks quite like Mt. Fuji in Japan. Mt. Taranaki is well-known in Japan, too, because the region around this mountain was chosen as the location for the famous American film "The Last Samurai", which depicted the spirit of Japanese samurai swordsmen in the era of modernization.

  • 1月17日



Michel made a great breakfast for me.



Michel drove me to a small town called Bull on his way to workplace, and dropped me off there. I saw something really unbelievable at the town, that is, housemover. Housemover, as its name indicates, is a kind of service to deliver houses to customers by using a truck. I cannot imagine how they lift up the whole house and load it onto a truck. Besides, there would be a lot of diffiulties when passing through tunnels, bridges and narrow roads. Driver should be extremely cautious so that the rooftop doesn't hit the traffic light or power cables. I think people in our country have never had this kind of idea.   


The next person who gave me a ride was a man working for oil industry in New Plymath, a city at the foot of Mt. Taranaki. Taranaki area is the center of oil and natural gas industry, which is actually not so big in New Zealand. In New Zealand, most of electricity comes from renewable energy such as hydropower, geothermal power and windpower. Furthermore, the government is trying to boost the rate of renewable energy from 70 percent now to 90 percent by 2025.




それまで少し乾燥気味に見えた風景は、タラナキ山に近づくにつれて緑が濃くなっていった。タラナキ山の周りはTaranaki ring plainと呼ばれ、土地が肥沃であるそうだ。ドライバーは本当に良い人だった。まず、数日間の食糧を調達しなければいけない僕のために途中の町のCountdown(現地スーパー)に寄ってくれた。更には登山口のNorth Egmontビジターセンターまで車で送ってくれた。ビジターセンターは主要道から車でかなり離れた標高900m地点にあるのにも関わらずである。

The closer it got to Mt. Taranaki, the greener the landscape became. He said that the area around this mountain is called Taranaki ring plain, and the soil is rich and fertile.

He was really kind to me. He took me to a supermarket on the way so that I can buy the food to eat up in the mountain. Also, to my surpeise, he drove me to the DOC North Egmont Visitor centre, the starting point for the hike, which is located at about 900 meters above sea level and quite far away from the main road to New Plymouth, his destination.

The region » Taranaki Regional Council






The driver explained to me a lot of things. On the road to visitor centre, he stopped the car and told me that the tall tree with leaves hanging down is called Rimu, and the timber obtained from this tree is the material for many wooden houses in NZ. He said that it's good to live in wooden houses in NZ because they don't have white ants like Australia. I remembered when I arrived at Auckland airport, all of my equipment for tramping was severely checked for a long time, and now I understood the reason why. Although somewhat troblesome, it certainly is neccesary to protect NZ's distinctive ecosystem.

We said goodbye at the visitor centre. I was extremely grateful for him and felt realy warm. Before starting off, I cooked noodles to take in some enegrgy, but couldn't find spoon to eat it(By the way, noodles are usually eaten not by spoon but by chopsticks, but I didn't bring them from Japan). I searched all over the backpack, but the effort was useless.

Therefore, I asked a DOC official at the visitor centre if she can lend me one. She willingly lent me one with a smile on her face. I was glad but at the same time really embarassed.

まず歩くのはPouakai Circuit というトラック。コースの詳細は以下DOCのページ参照。

The first track I chose to walk is Pouakai Circuit, the details are shown in the DOC website.

Pouakai Circuit: Walking and tramping in Egmont National Park, North Egmont area


 Kamahi (Weinmannia racemosa)


moutain foxglove (Ourisia macrophylla)


Pouakai の山々。


Maori onion (Bulbinella hookeri)



I stayed at a mountain hut. It started to rain heavily before the sun set.

  • 1月18日





The rain got heavier and heavier, so I descended in a hurry.

One of the characteristics of forest in NZ is that the floor is covered with lots of beautiful fern.  



After coming back, I decided to stay in visitor centre to free from torrential rainstorm which started from afternoon.  

  • 1月19日


Heavy storm hit Taranaki area and the weather was extremely I stayed at the DOC visitor centre all day.

  • 1月20日


I got up at 4:00 in the morning. The forecast from MetService said that there would be 1mm precipitation in the morning and that the wind speed would be around 60km/h, slightly weakening in the afternoon to 50km/h and 40km/h in the evening.

Although it predicted "showers clearing in the late morning and fine weather spells", I would certainly be exposed to strong wind up on the track, which made me a little worried.


A small amount of rice, carrot and onion are the only food left today. Gathering up all of these, I made a porridge as breakfast, and wished that I could make it to the summit today.



Wind is blowing strong outside. According to the forecast, the weather would get better over time, so it would be useless to start too early. I lay in the sleeping bag for a long time, and at last packed up stuffs and started to walk after 5:30.



When I got up, the weather was quite fine, with a lot of stars sparkling in the sky. However, after a while, fog became more and more dense, and the summit was completely covered by it. It also started drizzle, and along with occasional sunlight, created a beautiful rainbow.


Mountain buttercup (Ranunculus nivicola)


Kopoti (Anisotome aromatica)


After passing Tahurangi Lodge and walking up well-maintained steps to the ridge, I was exposed to some severe weather. I put on a neck warmer and gloves in a hurry, and continued walking upwards. In fact, it was nothing but a small rain, but together with strong wind, made me feel really cold and discouraged to go on. Although I was even wearing a fleece jacket under a rainwear, it was so cold that I decided to escape to a rock shadow at around 2100m in altitude, and to wait for the weather to improve

I thought of the possibility of having to retreat, but it was still a little bit too early to make that decision. I didn't want to give up.



I waited and waited. The wind had no sign of letting up, but I sometimes could see the blue sky from the breaks in the fog. The rain was gradually weakening and the portion of blue sky was increasing little by little. Blue sky sometimes completely hid in the fog but after a while it would appear again. Finally at around 10am, almost all the fog suddenly cleared up.

I waited for about one and a half hour in all, and felt really happy to find it worth the wait.




After a rainstorm that lasted for about 2 days, the sky looked bluer than usual blue. Before I knew it, my wet backpack and clothes dried up in the strong sunlight and wind.



When I looked back to take pictures, I chanced to see a few people not so far from me, who were climbing up really fast. Although this never is a competition, I thought I would not feel so good if I would be surpassed at the point just about to reach the top.

Starting early in the dawn, enduring the severe weather, I wanted to be the first to reach the summit, so I speeded up.


やがてクレーターに溜まった万年雪の雪渓に出る。左側のギザギザの岩峰はShark's Tooth(2510m)と呼ばれ、右側の主峰より8m低い。

The crater just below the summit is covered with permanent snow, and it's necessary to cross it before attempting to the summit.

The peak on the left side is named Shark's Tooth(2510m) for its jagged shape, and 8 meters lower than the main peak on the right.



As I climbed the steep slope of the main peak, the view became even more spectacular, and made me feel like as if I were heading to the top of the world.



...and finally reached the summit!! In Japan, a lot of famous mountains have a bit too big and exaggerated sign, but here at the top of Mt.Taranaki, the sign is quite simple. I can quietly have the sense of achievement thanks to that.



Looking down the sea of clouds below the mountain, I felt really satisfied. That's because I was the first to reach the summit today. Also, people living in the town down there would be having a cloudy morning, but I was under the blue sky.


山麓のNew Plymouthの街からやってきた親子とその友人。おじさんは「登頂するのは今日が3回目だけれど、こんなに天気が良かったのは初めてだよ。」と言っていた。そして両脇の少年はまだ14歳と15歳。後ろから凄いペースで上がってきたのは彼らだった。まだ中学生でこんな景色が見れるなんて羨ましい限り。そういえば自分も高校受験で精神的に滅入っていた時、父親大台ヶ原に連れて行ってもらったのがちょうど15歳の時だった。ふとあの時「大蛇嵓」という絶壁の展望台から眺めた景色を思い出して懐かしくなった。


The people climbing so fast behind me were a father, his son and son's friend from New Plymouth, a city at the foot of Mt.Taranaki. He said "This is my third time to climb Mt.Taranaki, but today is the best.". These two boys are only 14 and 15 years old. I felt really envious of them, that they could see such a beautiful scenery at their age. 

They reminded me of the memories when I was 15 years old. At that time, seeing I was really stressed to prepare for high school's entrance exam, my father took me to Mt.Odai-ga-hara for a change. I still clearly remember the scenery from the lookout situated at a sheer cliff called Daijagura.

One day in the future, two boys will also recall this happy memory just like me.

By the way, it looks like my sleeping mat is not fixed firmly. It's awkward...


Shark's Toothとその先の雲海。本来この先には北島最高峰Mt.Ruapehuが見えるはずなのだが、雲海に紛れてしまってよくわからない。

I hear that the highest mountain in the North Island, Mt.Ruapehu(2797m) can be seen in this direction, but I couldn't find it amid the sea of clouds.




Starting to descend and looking back the main peak.





The slope  is highly angled, but the friction is good and descending is not so difficult.


Everlasting daisy (Anaphalioides bellidioides)



The mountainside is covered with splendid moss.




I descended at a high speed, sometimes slipping and falling on my behind...

Mt.Taranaki is beautiful from any angle. It was a great pleasure to make it to the summit.


A Photographic Guide to Alpine Plants of New Zealand

A Photographic Guide to Alpine Plants of New Zealand