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 An Alpine Hike on Mt Taranaki 
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Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:45 pm
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Location: Auckland, NZ
Post An Alpine Hike on Mt Taranaki
We spent our short family holiday over Christmas in the Taranaki district of the North Island this year. It’s a 4.5 hour drive from Auckland but a more than enjoyable drive for the most part with several beautiful beaches to stop at. The West coast of NZ has dark volcanic sand, which on a hot day when the sun is out, will burn your feet so badly you can’t walk on it. In our case we sprinted from one piece of drift wood to the other!


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The temperature at sea level was 25deg C plus but once we arrived at the visitor centre at Mt Taranaki at an elevation of 1000m it had dropped to 8 Deg C with a southerly wind accompanying it. That had also bought snow to the slopes.

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We were never going to attempt the summit anyway with young kids so weren’t at all deterred and off we set on a loop trail down into sub alpine beach and totara forest. You might see Cordyline indivisa in a lot of these images which is dispersed plentifully all over the mountain.

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Blechnum novae zelandiae
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First peak of Cordyline indivisa

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Epiphytes and moss cover every tree making the forest feel quite enchanted

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Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:37 am
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Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:45 pm
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Location: Auckland, NZ
Post Re: An Alpine Hike on Mt Taranaki
The occasional Cyathea smithii was present throughout the day but nowhere in any great numbers. This is probably on the boundaries of its tolerance here.

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Cordylne indivisa stands out so distinctly amongst the narrow leaved vegetation and appears to grow prolofically right up to the snow line

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Blechnum fluviatile with its vertical fertile fronds lined the paths on this segment of the track

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At the end of this walk we stopped back at the visitor centre for a well earned break before taking on the alpine section

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Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:01 am
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Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 10:20 pm
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Location: Kyushu, Southern Japan (33.607N latitude)
Post Re: An Alpine Hike on Mt Taranaki
OK, over 2500 meters is getting up into true alpine! These stand alone volcanic peaks are just so spectacular, though it is sad to think that one day this monster will blow its top and devastate all that wonderful forest. A black sand beach in the sun reminds me of walking barefoot on parking lots in Florida as a kid - OUCH!

I did a quick search on this mountain and read that it was used in "The Last Samurai" as a stand in for Mt. Fuji - just too many apartment buildings cluttering up the works in modern Japan. :roll:

Looking forward to the alpine section.

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Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:24 am
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Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:56 pm
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Location: Seekonk, Massachusetts USA, USDA zone 6b
Post Re: An Alpine Hike on Mt Taranaki
It’s great seeing the flora and sights. Thanks for posting.


Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:04 pm
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Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 3:55 pm
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Location: North Thames delta UK
Post Re: An Alpine Hike on Mt Taranaki
Those indivisa are stunning. Looking forward to the rest of this!

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Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:24 pm
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Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:46 pm
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Location: Maastricht Netherlands
Post Re: An Alpine Hike on Mt Taranaki
Hi Mark Beautiful pictures, we visited the Mt Taranaki in end November 1999 and had to get up very early to see the mountain without cloud, there was little snow then and my girlfriend wanted to go to the snow at any cost! She did not make it, it seemed close but appearances were deceiving :wink:

Here a few old photos with the zeiss icon,
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Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:55 pm
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Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:45 pm
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Location: Auckland, NZ
Post Re: An Alpine Hike on Mt Taranaki
Pleased you like the pictures guys thanks. This place is a real treasure and as Tom says it will inevitably come back to life one day and wipe out the plant life. I think that’s what makes these volcanic landscapes so wonderous.

You were lucky to see the peak Eduard as it’s notoriously cloudy most of the year. I saw it last Christmas from Mt Tongariro which is on the central plateau and thats when I resolved to go to Taranaki.

Here it is on the horizon several hundred km away.

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Actually that was a true alpine plant extravaganza last year too. Just a few pics of that trip here. Unlike Taranaki which is dormant, this plateau is very much alive with steam vents and erupts violently ever few decades.

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Will upload the rest of the Taranaki alpine walk later. I need to do some gardening before it gets too hot!

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Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:31 pm
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Post Re: An Alpine Hike on Mt Taranaki
Back to walk number 2, which was more up towards the transitional part of the forest which turns rapidly from beach and totara forest to dense shrubby forest full of Coprosm sp and native broom.

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A very nicely arranged natural display of high elevation natives

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I’m always fascinated with how the dead trees remain upright for so long after they’ve died in these high elevation forests.. They add such a stark contrast to the landscape.

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I haven’t yet identified this little flowering species but it was quite prevalent amongst the scrub.

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An abundance of ground ferns along the ridge trails in the open

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Heading back down into the canopy

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Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:27 pm
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Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:59 pm
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Location: Loughborough, Leics, central UK
Post Re: An Alpine Hike on Mt Taranaki
Cracking shots Mark thanks for taking time out to post them on GOTE
The first shot of that C.indivisa is stunning and the shots of Blechnum novae zelandiae and B.fluvitale with those large fronds are amazing I did not realise they should grow so large I guess my garden gets a little cooler in winter.


Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:01 pm
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 10:03 pm
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Location: Inland Cornwall UK
Post Re: An Alpine Hike on Mt Taranaki
Mark wrote:
I haven’t yet identified this little flowering species but it was quite prevalent amongst the scrub.


Ourisia macrophylla ssp. macrophylla?

Thanks for posting all of this. Most interesting. Almost enough to prompt me get a passport!

Chad.


Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:39 am
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Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:32 am
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Location: Nantes france
Post Re: An Alpine Hike on Mt Taranaki
thanks for posting... i'm falling in love of your flora.

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Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:16 pm
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Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:45 pm
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Post Re: An Alpine Hike on Mt Taranaki
I'm glad you like the pics. It's definitely a 'must return' place. Next time I will go without the kids and do the summit hike!

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Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:28 pm
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