The central region of the North Island of New Zealand is known for its picturesque views of Lake Taupo, Rotorua, Mount Ruapehu, Waikato River and the famous Tongariro Crossing. While these places are worth a visit, there is another peak that is worth a climb.
New Zealand does not have any specific laws that prohibit nakedness in public, so I decided to climb Mount Tauhara near Taupo nude on a recent sunny afternoon.
The climb begins by opening a gate to a cow farm. The cows were staring and mooing at me as I passed. Watch out for the cow dung! The beginning of the hike is rather open, with little tree cover so I waited to disrobe until I was under cover (I forgot my sun cream). This section of the climb, through the farm, is the most strenuous as it is steep. This summer has been extremely dry and a drought has been declared in the area.
Once I reached the watering tanks, I removed my clothing and started through the lush green forest that surrounds the mountain. It was much cooler and my non protected skin was happy not to be completely exposed to the harsh sun. The covered section of the climb has some very gentle climbs and others that get much more steep. There is a waterfall during the trek up, but the drought has made it more of a trickle.At several points on the climb there are fantastic views of the city of Taupo, its lake, and on very clear days the peaks of Mount Ruapehu, Mount Ngauruhoe, and Mount Tongariro.
This day was a perfect. However, on cloudy or foggy days you can actually be above the clouds once you reach the top section. The 360 degree views are amazing. The peak has areas where you can walk and see other magnificent views.
The walk up the 1,088 meter climb is considered strenuous and takes approximately 90 minutes. It takes 45-60 minutes to climb down.
It is not well groomed and many locals are the people that climb it. Mount Tauhara is in a protected Maori area and access can be restricted by the tribe that protects it, so I was careful to have my shorts ready in case someone that protects the mountain objected to my nudity.
I have always had a meaningful experience on my 30 climbs of Mount Tauhara, and I am glad I finally completed the climb in the nude this time.
This a a guest post. Text and photos by Nick.