From the Egmont National Park Visitor Centre the Summit Climb heads up the boardwalk past the historic Camphouse and onto Translator Rd.
You will approach the TV translator and Tahurangi Lodge after a tough walk of about 1½ hours and you will notice you have entered the alpine zone where tussocks and mosses struggle for survival at this exposed altitude.
On clear days the views are expansive over the blue Tasman Sea, the lush pasture checkerboard of North and South Taranaki and on to the snow-capped volcanoes of the Central North Island.
Continue up past Tahurangi Lodge, cross the Around the Mountain Track into Hongi’s Valley. Climb the many stairways to the scoria zigzag track on the poled route. This track takes you to a rock lava flow called the Lizard. When the rocks emerge from the snow in the late spring, this flow begins to look like a lizard. Take care not to dislodge rocks as you climb higher. Rocks gather speed as they bounce down the mountain and can be extremely dangerous for climbers following your path. An ice axe, crampons and mountaineering experience are essential if there is snow or ice on the summit and upper slopes.
The crater has snow in it all year round. Climb the short steep slope to reach the summit rocks but please respect the spiritual significance to Maori of this mighty ancestor by not standing on the very highest point.
From the summit area most of the mountain features are visible. Look south to Fanthams Peak and out to the Kaikoura Range in the South Island. Look west over the collapsed crater rim to the Turtle, the rocky feature that from some aspects has a broad turtlelike back. Look down the eroding western slopes to the lahar-covered farmland.
To the North you’ll look down to the Ahukawakawa Swamp nestled under the Pouakai Range and out to the extinct volcanic succession of the Kaitake Range, the Sugar Loaf Islands and Paritutu Rock at New Plymouth.
Look east, over the crater to the Shark’s Tooth, to the very top of the East Ridge. The town of Stratford sits to the east and further on are the vast lowland forests of the Matemateaonga and Waitaanga ranges with the volcanoes of the Tongariro National Park visible on the horizon.
The descent is usually faster and a rest and afternoon tea at the Egmont National Park Visitor Centre are just rewards.