Stratford Plateau Track
Time: 3 hr return
Take the Wilkies Pools Loop Track from the car park, walking through forest before arriving at the series of pools and cascades scoured out of the lava. Continue past the pools until you come to the junction with the High Level Around the Mountain Track, turn right and climb northeast into mountain totara and cedar before emerging in subalpine scrub near The Plateau car park at East Egmont. There is a toilet, picnic spot and lookout here, but no public shelter.
Arrange for transport to pick you up from this end, or return along the track to Dawson Falls road end.
Fanthams Peak Return Trip
Time: 5 hr return
Winter conditions now exist on Mt Taranaki and Fanthams Peak.
On a clear day this tramp offers great views both up the mountain and down to the Taranaki Ring Plain and the coastline.
Take the Fantham Peak Track from above the Dawson Falls Visitor Centre. Follow the track uphill, past the Hooker Shelter to the Kāpuni Lodge junction. From here the track ascends steeply up a staircase to meet the Upper Lake Dive Track.
The route to the top of Fantham’s Peak (1966m) and Syme Hut (10 persons) is marked with snow poles that zigzag up steep scoria slopes. Return to Dawson Falls Roadend by the same route.
The upper part of this track is very exposed and not recommended for winter use unless parties are experienced and equipped with ice axe and crampons.
Lake Dive Track
Time: 6 - 8 hr return
On a clear day this tramp offers great views both up the mountain and down to the Taranaki Ring Plain and the coastline. The picturesque Lake Dive lies at the foot of the upper Beehive, a cumulo dome created when lava welled up and congealed before it could burst through.
Take the Fanthams Peak Track from above the Dawson Falls Visitor Centre. Turn left at the first junction and follow the track to Hasties Hill. Continue on the Lower Lake Dive track. Many ladders and staircases have been installed on this section of the track which traverse country broken by gullies.
The round trip follows the Upper Lake Dive Track from Lake Dive Hut. It climbs steeply to join the High Level Around the Mountain Circuit Track and the Fanthams Peak Track, before returning down to Dawson Falls Roadend.
This track incorporates parts of the low level and high level Around the Mountain Circuits. The upper route is very exposed and not recommended for winter use unless parties are equipped with ice axe and crampons. It is better to return on the lower track during this time of year.
Dawson Falls sits at the top end of Manaia Road 14 km from Kaponga. The drive to the roadend is through scenic native forest. Kaponga is an easy drive west of Stratford and Eltham.