Tramping in the North Island late September

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Hey All, Im coming across from Australia for a friends wedding in New Plymouth in late September this year. It would be great to see the NZ country side whilst im there and want to get some bush walking (tramping), mountain biking in etc. im an experienced bush walker but not that experienced in the snow. Ill be getting some avalanche training in Aus before i head across. Ill probably stay on the North Island. A few questions: 1. Tongariro Circuit seems to be THE draw card for tourists to the north island. Of course being weather dependent, there is the potential of avalanches on this walk. Does anybody have experience with this walk this time of year. Say, if the snow is melting and there hasnt been a fresh dump, does the high risk avalanche area get degraded? If there is a fresh dump when im there and i decide its too dangerous, ill pull out. in which case, 2. Ill need a plan B. Ive been trying to find a decent challenging and interesting 3-5 day walk that is not subject to snowing in on the north island and cant find anything. Do you have suggestions? There is Taranaki - but images on google show people climbing it on unicycles. Doesnt sound too tough. Or Lake Waikaremoana, my mate said it was ok, but not spectacular. Any other suggestions? Aleks
"There is Taranaki - but images on google show people climbing it on unicycles. Doesnt sound too tough." Deadliest peak in nz, though. Maybe too many people on unicycles.
"Deadliest peak in nz, though." Na, but it does quite often get that title. Because of its easy access I guess. Aoraki Mt Cook has the highest number of fatalities, over 200, Taranaki around 80..
Good point. Second deadliest. :) Probably easy access combined with rapidly changing conditions straight off the sea. Back to the original question, though, it'd be a shame to write off Egmont National Park when you're virtually there already, in New Plymouth. There may be better places to go if you want to be kept occupied for 3 to 5 days, but it could still be worth visiting if you have the time, even if it's just to hop up above the bushline during a day. ENP changes completely once you get above the trees. More notable areas are around the Pouakai Range (nearest to New Plymouth) which has a large wetland on a plateau below the mountain, or the southern side around Dawson Falls and Lake Dive. And of course you could consider going up the mountain, even just part of the way, if conditions and forecast allow, though September might be too close to winter to get up into that zone with any reasonable safety without skills. Keep in mind it's probably a constant 30 degree slope and there are lots of bluffs around to slide off if the conditions help with that sort of thing.
200 people have died in mt cook national park, about 60 have died on mt cook. Mt taranaki is the deadliest peak in NZ if you are purely taking the no of fatalities. you must be proficient with ice axe and crampons for taranaki in winter and spring, if you cant stop yourself sliding on a steep slope very quickly then you will end up in hospital or the morgue. some mountains such as the higher ones in the world use the ratio of successful summiters to no of people killed to determine 'how deadly' the mountain is. I dont know what that ratio is on NZ mountains but Mt Cook would rate as far more deadly than Taranaki given the far higher no's who summit Taranaki.. whether Mt cook would be the deadliest using that ratio, I don't know, it may be but i don't come across the statistics for no's of climbers who have summited NZ peaks. the avalanche risk on tongariro doesnt usually last too long if there arent regular big dumps anywhere can be dangerous in the NZ mountains, people die on the milford track, under estimate them at your peril. http://www.avalanche.net.nz/Forecasts/
There are lots of safe walks on Taranaki without considering going to the top. The mountain does kill because it takes no prisoners if it goes wrong. As Waynoski says a unarrested fall up there can be 300 metres plus unless something stops you and as you can imagine you build up a fair speed in 300 metres so the stop will hurt not that a 300 metre slide does to much good. The mountain itself in summer is easy enough Some idiots a few years ago took a 3 burner bbq up there.
Fair enough, I don't mean to argue (or highjack this thread) but honestly Mt Cook itself has over 80 fatalities and Taranaki looks similar (but I can't find exact stats for either) but having climbed both, in summer and winter, I can tell you IMHO Cook is far more intimidating... In September, Taranaki will be firm snow ice conditions in early morning and slush in afternoon, its a great time to climb to the summit, as Wayno said, if you have the skills. Its not a mountain for beginners by any means though.
@aleks, it's a bit different but another option you could consider is something like the Whanganui Journey, which is in the next region over from Taranaki. It's referred to as a Great Walk for grouping purposes with the other Great Walks, but is actually a multi-day canoe or kayak trip (3 to 5 days depending on where you start). http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/manawatu-whanganui/places/whanganui-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/whanganui-journey/ In late September you'd be there just before the start of the main bookings-required season, which begins October 1st.

This thread branched to "Fatality stats" on . Explore the branch (18 messages).

I'd recommend the whanganui journey. 5 days from taumaranui to pipiriki, and it is an incredible trip. Some fun rapids in there, some good history on the river, and it is a properly special place. Its a very, very special trip that. Absoluted amazing. Almost quite spiritual in a way.
Thanks for replying. Good observation about the unicyclists adding to the death toll... Pipeking - "Its not a mountain for beginners by any means though." Do you mean beginner mountaineers or beginner bush walking/tramping. I would put myself in the 'medium experience' category for bush walking in Australian conditions. Probably spent about 200-300 nights in the high country. But only about 10-20 of these in snow. Waynowski - "the avalanche risk on tongariro doesnt usually last too long if there arent regular big dumps " This makes me think that if there hasnt been any fresh dumps than going to do Tongariro circuit with crampons may be ok? Geeves - "There are lots of safe walks on Taranaki without considering going to the top. " I have thought about Mt Taranaki. What is it like circumnavigating it that time of year, not necessarily summit bagging? Does the loop track provide good scenic landscapes and enough difficulty to not get bored? Can you recommend some good walks? sliding 300 m before being arrested and ending up in a morgue doesnt sound like fun.
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Forum Visiting New Zealand
Started by Aleks
On 29 May 2015
Replies 18
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