A Tipi or a Tent? - Attempt at climbing Taranaki

Easter weekend 2013

The goal: To climb Mount Taranaki (Egmont) and to stay in a Tipi tent at Solscape in Raglan.

The Outcome: Climbed ¾’s of Mount Taranaki and ended up in an old tent on a single mattress and in a train carriage (Caboose).

Let start from the beginning … This was me and B’s first holiday together and this was going to be interesting. We had decided we needed to escape Auckland and go away for Easter weekend. So Taranaki and Raglan was it! We booked our accommodation online and set off in my Mini Cooper for an adventure.

sheep house in new zealand

We started off from Auckland Friday afternoon and 4½ hours later we arrived in New Plymouth, our first destination for the trip. Lucky I had booked a nice hotel for the two nights we were to stay. That night we decided that in the morning we would climb Mt Taranaki, so with that decision it was time to hit the sack.

Rising above the clouds, the 2518m summit of this dormant volcano offers spectacular views to those who make the challenging climb to its peak.

Bright and early the next morning we woke up and went to have breakfast at a café by the beach. After a carb loaded breakfast it was time to drive to the start of Mt Taranaki walk. As we approached the mountain we saw that most people were coming down ... Maybe 10:30am was too late to start climbing? B parked the mini and started chatting to a few people. Most people told us they had arrived at the mountain in the dark and climbed to the top for sunrise. Oh well we thought, we are here, may as well climb it now.

mount taranaki
climbing mount taranaki
climbing mount taranaki

The first part of the climb took 1 1/2 hours from North Egmont to the Tahurangi Lodge (1,492m). This was the nice part of the climb where we walked a gradual hill to reach the hut. At the hut we had a small break to eat lunch and for B to text his mum in Austria.

The next part was harder where we climbed from the Tahurangi Lodge to 3/4's of the way to the summit (2,518 m). There was a series of steps which lead out of the valley and onto the steep scoria slopes. When we hit the scoria slopes it started to rain and we did not have the right gear to climb to the summit. So we made the decision that we would turn around and climb back down to the bottom of the Mount. By this time it was 5:30pm and time to head back to the Hotel for a nice dinner and drinks.

A yummy dinner at the hotel and a few drinks was all we needed to send us into a sleep coma as we knew in the morning we were off to Raglan to go sleep in a Tipi …

Or so we thought!

We regard our accommodations and facilities as functional, earthy and simple. Each building presenting a style of its own yet somehow tied to the whole by a common thread, truth.

Wakey Wakey, we were back in the car for almost a 4hr drive until we reached Solscape in Raglan. Online we had booked a Tipi tent site. When we arrived and checked in we recieved a suprise. The receptionist had told us we had just booked a tent site.

What were we to do? We had no tent and no items to sleep in; fortunately for some reason we had our sleeping bags. Amazingly Solscape had a garage and it was full with old items. The receptionist found us an old tent and mattress underneath bikes, gardening tools, old sheets and many more items. At this point I was hysterically laughing that I almost wet my pants. How embarrassing especially on our first holiday away together. We were sorted, we had an old tent and mattress for one night and a space had become available in a train carriage Caboose for the second night.

desert in raglan
nikki carying mattress at solscape

Sweet Treats: The mess – mandarin meringue, citrus curd, cream and frosted pistachio.

After recieving the mattress and tent it was time to hike down a slope and up a hill to the tent site. I was still hysterically laughing while I walked with the mattress over my head. B managed to set up the tent before it was dark. Phew!

Dinner time so back in the mini and off to Raglan center for dinner. Walking around we stumbled across a delicious café 'The Shack' which served a great dinner and the most amazing desert we had ever tasted. After dinner it was time to hike back to our tent and experience one of the worst night sleeps we have had together.

On our second day in Raglan we went to the markets and surf stores where I purchased an awesome lilac bikini for 1/2 the price you would in Auckland. With this new bikini it was off to the beach. Raglan has some of the best beaches and we had a great day relaxing in the sun.

nikki at beach near raglan
nikki at solscape

After the beach it was back to Solscape for our last night on our little holiday. Tonight we were staying in a caboose (train carriage). This was an amazing night reading books, drinking, relaxing and catching up on the sleep we were deprived of the night before. Waking up on our last morning we realised our trip came to an end all too quickly. It was off to Auckland and back to the routine of the real world. For now.

view from solscape in raglan

Ka kite anō New Plymouth and Raglan!