Mount Taranaki has a reputation for being incredibly elusive and it's pretty rare to see her come out from behind her cloak of cloud for any length of time. She has a reputation for being incredibly moody and changeable and so many people have lost their lives thinking foolishly they could understand and survive her sudden mood swings.
I knew my best chance of seeing her in all her glory was to get out early.
As it turned out I couldn't go too early as I'd forgotten my tripod so there wasn't much point in getting up for the actual dawn! I headed up to the top of Mangorei road and made friends with a bunch of cows on the side of the road who may have been wondering what this lunatic was doing out and about shattering their peace at this time of the day. Then again they pretty much ignored me so they must be used to random strangers on their patch.
The foothills of Mount Taranaki are incredibly green and rolling as you can see.
But I had another spot in mind so headed to Lake Mangamahoe, hoping that the gates would be unlocked at this hour (7am). Thankfully they were! I drove right to the end of the gravel road which is probably at least a kilometre into the reserve, before heading up to what I thought was the lookout. It turns out in my half-asleep hurry I'd taken a wrong fork in the road and ended up way up on a ridge amongst the pines. Luckily I have a pretty good sense of direction and I realised fairly quickly when I could see the dam right down below me that I was on the wrong track. Especially as we'd been here before about six months ago and I knew roughly that the lookout was near the dam.
So after that false start, I did eventually find the lookout and it was worth the wait.
As was the view from the dam itself.
The cherry blossoms beside the lake were looking rather lovely too.
But possibly my favourite shots of the day came from the redwood forest clearing.
Sunflare, shadows and green in dappled light. Just delicious if I do say so myself!
Despite not having my tripod to be out to catch the dawn, I'm not sure it really mattered in the end as the shots I got were pretty lovely.
This was only the start of what turned out to be a very packed day of adventures, climbing Paritutu and going up to the North Egmont to see the mountain up close before she disappeared from view for the rest of our weekend - which made me all the more glad that I got out to capture her early!