on Mount Taranaki




A Photo-Story

for all ages



by Caro Mundt



Shakespir Edition

Copyright 2015 CL Mundt




This book is free.

However, all text and photographs

are copyrighted by the author.








Tayla lives in New Zealand, at the foot of a sleeping volcano which is sometimes called Mount Taranaki, and sometimes, Mount Egmont.

It’s the middle of winter, school holiday time. Tayla’s parents are dairy farmers, and have work to do, so she is spending the day with her aunty.

‘What shall we do today?’ asks Aunty.

Tayla says, ‘Climb the mountain!’

Aunty reminds her, ‘Taranaki is a big mountain—and he’s wearing a snow-coat. Too high and too cold for us. But there’s a trail that wanders from the East Egmont car park all the way up to the Mangonui ski field. How about we walk it as far as we safely can? If the weather starts to look bad, we’ll turn back.’

‘As long as I get to make a snowman,’ agrees Tayla.

The road to the car park rises steeply through a forest of twisted trees.

‘We’re driving through clouds,’ says Aunty. ‘I hope there’s sunshine up ahead.’

But the car park is sunless, and there’s no snow. The wind is blowing hard and it’s very cold.

Tayla is disappointed.

Aunty says, ‘Cheer up! Let’s see if we can find some of that white stuff. First, though, we’ll have a look at the information board. It may have some good advice for us.’

And it does. Among other things, it recommends:

The trail from the car park curves up and up. Sometimes sunlight sweeps across them. Sometimes dark clouds fling chilly droplets at them. But never for long.

Tayla is pleased to be on the move, and skips ahead, past low scrub and clumps of tussock grass and rocks dotted with moss and lichen.

(Soon, Aunty is puffing.)

Above them, Mount Taranaki’s frosty shoulders poke through gaps in the clouds. Tayla wonders how far they will have to go before they reach snow.

At last she spots a patch of white in a ditch beside the track. ‘Yahoo!’ she yells, throwing herself upon it.

‘You’re a nut,’ says Aunty. ‘Don’t get wet!’

There’s not enough snow to make a snowman, but Tayla has fun, anyway. Then she and Aunty walk on.

Several other walkers pass them, as does a car laden with ski equipment.

After a while they come to a goods lift, built to carry gear across a gorge to the ski lodge high on the opposite ridge. This is as far as vehicles can go. Here the car is unloaded, before turning around.

Beyond the lift, the track to the ski field narrows as it wriggles along the side of the gorge.

Meanwhile, up ahead, icy mist has dropped down over the ski field, and begun to to creep along the track towards them. Tayla wants to keep going, but Aunty says, ‘No. We better turn back. Soon we won’t be able to see ahead.’

Tayla runs ahead most of the way down—except when she pauses to poke at things.

Whenever she finds a puddle she tries to trick Aunty into coming close, so she can splash her.

Aunty says, ‘I wasn’t born yesterday, Tayla!’

Then, glancing back, Tayla sees the mist is fast approaching.

‘Hurry, Aunty!’ she calls, ‘it’s catching up.’

‘I’m too old for this,’ groans Aunty, but she speeds up.

As they near the car park a rainbow appears. They can see all the way down to farms and houses on the plains below.

On the way home Aunty says, ‘Did you enjoy your day out, Tayla? I hope you have enough energy left to make me a cup of tea when we get home.’

Tayla doesn’t answer. She’s worn out and already sound asleep!


About this story

Tayla’s Day Out is set in the district of Taranaki, on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand, where winter occurs in the middle of the year.. The local economy is based on dairy farming.


Mt Taranaki, also known as Mt Egmont, rises in the middle of the district. It is 8260 feet or 2518 metres high, and stunt-doubled for Mt Fuji in the movie, The Last Samurai. It is a dormant volcano, expected to one day awaken.



A car park is a parking lot.

A gorge is a narrow valley with steep walls.

A goods lift is, in this instance, a mechanised ‘flying fox’, or wire strung across the gorge, which ferries heavy items over and back.

About the author

Caro Mundt was raised in rural New Zealand. She studied writing with Owen Marshall, and has published a couple of short stories and a novel on this platform. It’s possible she is the aunty in this story. She can be contacted at [email protected]

Tayla's Day Out -A New Zealand Photo-Story for All Ages

It's school holiday time in New Zealand and ten-year-old Tayla is spending the day with her aunt. Tayla wants to make a snowman, so Aunty agrees to take her on a walking excursion on snow-topped Mount Taranaki. This story emphasizes the simple joy of a nature ramble on a chilly day. Tayla has visual and tactile fun, and gets to tease Aunty about an overtaking mist. And Aunty manages to keep up. Photos illustrate the alpine landscape of Mount Taranaki, also known as Mount Egmont, on the North Island of New Zealand. Suitable for reading to small children or for readers of any age but perhaps best for those between seven and eleven. Use of metaphor, banter, parentheses, conversation marks, exclamation marks, and contains a common saying.

  • ISBN: 9781310937804
  • Author: Caro Mundt
  • Published: 2015-12-28 05:05:17
  • Words: 808
Tayla's Day Out -A New Zealand Photo-Story for All Ages Tayla's Day Out -A New Zealand Photo-Story for All Ages