Day 16 Surf Highway and Mt Taranaki
Early morning run up the coastal walkway to start the day, not to sure what sparked that but it was well worth it. Nice chilly morning in the Naki with the sun about to creep over the horizon. I head in the opposite direction to yesterday and came across this impressive bridge, with the sun now over the horizon and shining down on it, time for a few pictures. I head back to camp and get ready to leave.
The plan for today is to head down and around State highway 45, known as the Surf Highway. It follows the coast from New Plymouth down to Hawera, perfect for the big west coast waves. I stock up on supplies and head down the coast. Not to far down I came around a corner to see the clouds had started to clear from around the magnificent Mt Taranaki, great to finally see it. I carry on down till I finally see the sign for the Cape Egmont lighthouse, I head down to check it out. The light house was first built-in 1865 further down the coast, but after a few shipping accidents, the light house was dismantled and shipped up the coast to its current position in 1881. After a quick walk around and a bite to eat, I carried on down the coast passing through a few small town and stopping off at Opunaki for a look around.
Next I wanted to head inland to the base of Mt Taranaki, where I had found there was a few walking tracks and Dawson’s falls. In the Egmont national park, I head north to the Dawson Falls visitor centre, this is where most of the walks start from and not far from the falls. I decide to do the Wilkies Pools Loop Track, 1.5-hour return trip, I set off amongst native bush covered in moss up to the Wilkies pools. Crystal clear water sitting in the small pools with each having its own little waterfall flowing from one to the another.
I carry on along the path which takes you around and back to the carpark, but I decide to take a detour and head up to the Stratford Plateau to see I could get any good views, another 30min up the track I get to the Plateau to find out it’s another carpark. The clouds had rolled down the hill by now so didn’t get to see much. On the return, I decide to burn a few more calories and run back down the track to Dawson Falls. Making short work of the estimate 1.5hour walking time, through mud over rocks around the cliffs and along the track to the falls. Don’t know what it is about falling water but it’s just one of those things that’s always an awesome site to see. The falls are 18m high and only 5 mins walk from the car park, if you don’t want to take the long way around. There’s a viewing platform up the top and you can climb down the stair to get a better view from the bottom.
By now it was getting late in the afternoon. Hot, sweaty and tied I head off to find a campground for the night. I end up in Hawera and find a nice little camp ground, Hawera holiday park. Really nice owners, not too far from town and clean facility’s, perfect for the night. Tomorrow I head further down the coast towards Wellington before the ferry crossing to the South Island on Tuesday.