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Egmont National Park
Mount Taranaki is 2518 metres above sea level, Mt Taranaki is New Zealand's most perfectly formed volcano. It is around 120,000 years old, and last erupted in 1775.
Maori legend provides an enchanting explanation for why Mt Taranaki stands alone. As the story goes, Taranaki once lived with the other volcanoes of the central plateau - Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. When he made romantic advances to Pihanga, a pretty hill that they all admired, Tongariro jealously blew his top (as volcanoes are inclined to do). Taranaki fled to the west, gouging the Whanganui River on his way.
For those interested in botany, Egmont National Park makes it possible to observe the progression of plant species from surf to summit. The lowland forest is scattered with rimu and rata trees, which gradually make way for kamahi, totara and kaikawaka. The 'Goblin Forest', on the mountain's middle slopes, takes its name from the gnarled shape of the trees and the thick swathes of trailing moss. Above the forest you'll find sub-alpine scrub and alpine herbs. A comprehensive network of walking tracks provides access to the unique beauty of the park.