1 Rankers Review
12 Mt Taranaki
This is a good short track to experience the goblin forest of Mount Taranaki.
The turnoff to North Egmont is signposted along Egmont Road from Egmont Village, 12 km from New Plymouth along SH3. The park boundary is a further 10 km, 6.5 km from the North Egmont Visitor Centre,
The start of the track is signposted just below the North Egmont Visitor Centre.
The stepped track takes a short jaunt through the subalpine forest and returns right along Translator Road.
The information centre at North Egmont is newly-refurbished and has a number of displays on various features of the mountain. The geological anatomy is dissected and explained with details on how the volcanic cones have progressed through from the Sugar Loaves, Kaitake Range, and Pouakai Range to today’s impressive peak. Interactive models with wheels and buttons should help the kids learn something.
The botany and avifauna is covered with 3-dimensional information panels, an emphasis being made on the kiwi in the park. As the internal walkway climbs through the display areas, you also pass a feature on how the area was opened up to European discovery. At the summit, there is an interesting collection of memorabilia relating to the connection between New Zealand mountaineers (most notably Sir Edmund Hillary) on Egmont and Everest. A replica of the ice axe Hilary used on his Everest ascent is displayed in a glass case.
The café is a place for a cuppa and a DoC shop sells various publications on the region. They also supply basic meteorological information and provide an intentions book in a box by the main entrance.
The Camphouse has a long and interesting history. During wars with Maori in the 1850s, New Plymouth residents became jittery at the prospect of Maori war parties reclaiming lost land by violent means. They petitioned Colonel Wynyard for the formation of a military post.
Wynyard agreed, but kept the whole operation secret. In 1855 he requested nine ‘iron houses’ from Captain A Clarke in Melbourne. After construction in Melbourne, they were disassembled, marked and given plans for re-erection. They cost over $12,000 and arrived on the brig Alexander.
The buildings were also affectionately known as ‘East India Villas’, on account of their origin. The corrugated zinc cladding and tongue and groove-lining of the buildings was supplemented with guttering and downpipes, ventilation and lighting. They were earthquake proof and could withstand fire from the outside.
When they arrived in New Plymouth, Wynyard’s underhand requisitioning of the buildings had been so secret, that nobody knew what they were for. After a few bureaucratic shenanigans, one was eventually placed on Marsland Hill in New Plymouth, where it remained for 18 years as a military barrack. After the cessation of the Maori Wars, later uses included a half-way house for immigrants and a camp for refugees from bush fires.
Following the efforts of Harry Peters in 1885, cutting a track for visitors to North Egmont, the use of the tent as temporary billeting became unsatisfactory. The ‘iron house’ was dismantled and carried to Kaimiro by cart then sledged in winter to the present site. For a time it served as a visitor centre, while the concrete hostel on the site of the present visitor centre housed travellers. This was demolished in 1977. The ‘iron house’ was originally known as North House, then Tahurangi House, before its present naming of Camphouse was conferred in 1986.
The only minor mishap is has recently suffered occurred in a 1965 storm, which blew the roof off. This was later retrieved from behind the building and refitted.
North Island ▷ Taranaki ▷ Mt Taranaki
Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍