Emma from The Travel Natural responded to my plea for help when wanting to organise a collaboration on best North Island New Zealand hikes as a follow up to my Best South Island Hikes collaboration. She was the only one who stepped up to the plate with her post on Pouakai Tarn Hike. I couldn’t just leave it sitting around unused so she gets her own spotlight.
Emma is a fellow Kiwi (so obviously, that makes her awesome) who loves to travel, she is a chef by trade but a wanderluster by heart. We seem to have a lot in common, similar names, similar trades and similar wanderlust. Choice! Anywho, back to Emma, she started solo travelling in 2011 after being inspired by the many travel blogs out there empowering women to travel solo. She moved to Australia (don’t worry, we won’t hold that against her), met her partner but had to travel solo as he had no interest in picking up the travel bug. The bug caught hold of Emma well and truly and eventually contaminated her partner too. She is now back in New Zealand seeing her homeland with fresh eyes and looking forward to her next adventure.
Emma started her travel blog in the hopes of inspiring others to travel and see the world. If it weren’t for other inspiring women, Emma’s story might be a bit different (and local). Her hopes are that by sharing her story, it will enable others to start theirs. She wants to dispell the myth that the world is a big scary place.
You can find Emma at The Travel Natural and on Instagram @thetravelnatural
Pouakai Tarn Hike in Taranaki
This hike is one of New Zealand’s best-kept secrets and is in a region relatively unexplored by international visitors. It’s a little bit like the Tongariro Crossing but minus the crowds, a little bit off the beaten path, but one of the most rewarding walks I’ve done in New Zealand.
The track to the small lake at the base of the mountain is almost entirely stairs and the two-hour ascent is without a doubt exhausting, but, as I’m sure you know, all the best places in New Zealand are a little difficult to reach. It’s all worth it when you’re presented with a view of Mount Taranaki that is unparalleled by any other viewpoint in the region.
Where is Pouakai Tarn Hike?
You’ll find the Pouakai Tarn hike in Egmont National Park on Mount Taranaki. It’s a 4-5 hour return walk on a portion of the Pouakai circuit, a 25 kilometre trail at the base of Mount Taranaki. The cool thing about the shorter track is that it includes some of the best scenery from the full circuit and is better suited to those on a tighter schedule or who are novice hikers. In fact, I found that people of all ages and fitness levels were on this track and many were locals exploring their own backyard.
To find the small lake that sits before the mountain, you’ll want to take the trail that begins at the end of Mangorei Road and follow it up to Pouakai Hut, from there it’s another 15 to 20-minute walk past the hut (there’s only one trail so you can’t get lost).
If you’re hoping to photograph Mount Taranaki with its mirror image reflected in the pool of water, pick a day with as little wind as possible. If you get a bit unlucky and cloud is obscuring the mountain, I suggest staying at Pouakai hut, a 16 bed cabin maintained by the Department of Conservation.
I love hearing about people exploring their own country, especially through fresh eyes. There is something about coming home after a period of time away. I know I saw New Zealand through clear eyes after being away for 18 months, the fog that had obscured the country for me had finally lifted and I was able to see what everyone else saw in this beautiful land.
Seeing the world makes you appreciate home that little bit more, see it through new eyes and appreciate it all the more.
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