Many people want to visit North Egmont because of its lush native forest and fantastic view of the mountains. Last week, the Taranaki/Egmont National Park Visitor Centre recorded at least 1,900 visitors within a day compared to the 13,000 visitors for the month of January last year. It isn’t surprising why there was a sudden surge of visitors to North Egmont; after all, it was a public holiday and the first time that the rains stopped.
People took advantage of the fine weather to view the mountains but they were with met with traffic chaos in the car park. Cars were literally lining the roadside down the mountains. In order to solve the traffic woes, mountain users suggest a new car park as well as shuttle service. Rob Needs, a mountain guide and Ian McAlpine both said that traffic heading up to the mountains is not a rare situation. As the region’s attraction grows, an increase in visitors is being expected.
Taranaki was recently named by Lonely Planet as the 2nd best region in the world to visit which means that more and more people will be going up the mountains. According to Needs, expanding the car park around the visitor’s center is not a viable solution. A better option will be to build a larger car park at the park’s boundary and offer shuttle service to the visitor’s center.
Traffic chaos is not a problem of the Department of Conservation but Taranaki tourism and the community which means that they must get together and discuss the best solution to be implemented. The problem is not going away soon but will get worse with the years. After 10 years, traffic will be twice as bad.
There is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to run shuttle service up and down the mountains. Shuttles must be driven by people who have sufficient knowledge of the mountains so that they can provide visitors with a better understanding of the environment.
In Thailand there is free shuttle service in Bangkok from the airport to the hotel. This is one of the perks offered for early booking. You will also enjoy big discounts when you book for 2 nights minimum.