I am going to walk around Mt Taranaki soon and was wondering if it was possible to walk to the summit from Syme Hut where there is no marked track, instead of taking the nothern route. Does any of you have experience with that? Looks pretty doable on the map.
In no-snow conditions it's a straight forward bash up the scoria slopes to the summit, 90-120 mins up from Syme hut from memory and quicker back down, you do need to be somewhat careful descending. Choose the weather carefully as descending back to Syme hut in cloud can be difficult to navigate right.
Winter in snow and ice is a different story.
@SimonS - We did this last year at Easter. We went from North Egmont to Kahui Hut, Kahui Hut to Lake Dive Hut, Lake Dive Hut to Syme Hut, then Syme Hut over the summit and down the summit track back to North Egmont.
Other than Lake Dive Hut to Syme Hut, these were all big days. The route from Holly Hut to Kahui Hut for us was deceptively long. For you, Waiaua Gorge Hut to Syme Hut would be a big day. The Brames Falls Route is more up and down than it appears on the topomap and it's a bit of a slog to get above the bushline.
In terms of the summit route, this is relatively simply (though hard work with packs on!). From Syme Hut follow the poles to Rangitoto Flat and follow a small gully up the mountain. At a certain point, an unmarked zig-zag route becomes clear and you can climb that to the top. Once a the crater, would recommend heading around to Shark's Tooth and up to the summit from there via the normal route, as if you head directly for the summit (as we did) from the southern part of the crater there is a lot of loose rock which is dangerous for those below.
Then enjoy the 1600m descent with packs on! Great for the knees.