Enchanted goblin forest? Swing bridge? Stream crossing? Swimming holes? Toasty warm hut?
Check, check, check, check, check. Waingongoro Hut has it all.
Waingongoro Hut is on Mount Taranaki in Egmont National Park, New Zealand. There are multiple options for getting to the hut. The shortest access point is from Dawson Falls Visitors Centre. No matter where you start, the trail is somewhat technical as it undulates with roots and rocks and puddles. At 6 and 8 years old, flat tracks make my kids drag their feet and say the b-word (bored). This is the kind of trail that makes them run and jump and get excited about moss.
As you make your way down the track you will see options for extending your walk to include Wilkies Pools, which is well worth it, especially in the summertime when you fancy a swim.
The last track sign is about 10 minutes before the Waingongoro Hut. Take a 30 second detour towards the Stratford Plateau to try out the highest swing bridge in Egmont National Park. From here you can head back to the hut or lengthen your walk by continuing down the Waingongoro Track to the Enchanted Track before looping back down along the Ridge Track to the Waingongoro Hut.
We always bring a topographic map when tramping. The Department of Conversation also produces descriptive maps, which are handy to have along as you explore. You can download the Dawson Falls and East Egmont Walks descriptive map for this trip or purchase one from the Dawson Falls Visitors Centre. Other great destinations for kids in Egmont National Park are the Maketawa Hut and Pouakai Hut. Need a bit more of a challenge? Try Syme Hut or the summit track on a fine summer's day.
Mount Taranaki, Egmont National Park
Time: 1.5 hours
Difficulty: A little harder than easy.
Buggies: No. Backpack style child carrier, yes.
Dogs: Not unless you've got $100 000 to spare.
Barefoot: Not tested, but achievable for the experienced barefooter.