Local story: the volcano ended up where it is now because he had an argument with another mountain in the Matamateaonga Range nearby over a female mountain, and lost so he had to relocate. At the moment he is resting but one day will rise up again and wreak some more havoc. It also appears that there is a large amount of gas underground which may well explode if there is any sort of eruption.

Taranaki from the south
Taranaki from the south – late afternoon
On the south side the mountain has a face on it: a glum looking person, probably not surprising given the above story! (Can’t really see it in the above photo.)

Although the volcano was covered in cloud in the afternoon, by evening it had cleared again and we got some good views. We spoke to a couple of people who had both attempted the two summits. One got to the gravel at the top of the Fanshawe walk, about 30 minutes from the summit, but was put off by the amount of cloud – she could not see to the next marker pole – and so she turned back. She was alone and at 69 it seems understandable.
The other couple were aiming for the other (higher) summit and reached 2300 metres (the summit is 2500 metres) and turned back because the gravel or scree offered very little support – it was fine grained and pumice like. They would have another attempt tomorrow. I am sure they will manage it as long as the weather holds.

Next day we had to leave. The weather was not so good and we left the mountain in cloud and headed out to the

Surfers' Paradise
Surfers’ Paradise – on the west coast
west coast – surfers paradise apparently – and Opunake and the
Cape Egmont Lighthouse
Cape Egmont Lighthouse

Egmont Lighthouse before driving on round to New Plymouth. Quite a big city so we weren’t sure we would stay. We noticed lots of people in a line crowding the sea-front. This turned out to be for some powerboat racing across from the port in the west to a buoy in the east and then back again.
We went to the iSite and booked somewhere for the night – places further up the coast seemed fully booked – weekend again. As we were now staying, if only for one night, we headed for the port and found a nice restaurant overlooking the harbour. Later we found the East Beach and the walkway that spans the entire length of the waterfront. Also encountered a group of several bowling clubs and a croquet club, would you believe. the that evening at an excellent nearby Thai Restaurant before early to bed for an early pre-breakfast start – we were heading to the Coromandel Peninsula. A long drive.

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