Geologically, Taranaki Maunga is New Zealand’s most perfectly formed volcano. It is around 120,000 years old and last erupted in 1775; volcanologists agree that the mountain is ‘dormant’ rather than extinct. To the tangata whenua (Māori people) of Taranaki, Taranaki Maunga is an ancient and sacred ancestor whereby the people of Taranaki descended. Often described as ‘New Zealand’s most climbed mountain’, Taranaki Maunga is an achievable summit challenge. Climbers and hikers do need to be aware of the changeable conditions and should come prepared with proper equipment.
The snow-capped cone of Taranaki Maunga lures visitors who appreciate geological phenomena. Apart from one small bump – a subsidiary vent called Fantham’s Peak – the mountain’s cone is beautifully symmetrical. Climbing to the summit is achievable for experienced hikers in all seasons – although winter is more difficult and not recommended– and is best done with a guide. The best months to attempt the summit climb is January through to April.