About a week later we ended up spending a few nights at the various visitor centre carparks on the slopes of Mt Taranaki. Forecast was good and each morning the mountain was crystal clear. First we tried to get to the tarns for that photo, about half an hour after we set off it clouded over but we couldn't tell badly until emerging out of the bush about half way up and by that point we'd gone up enough steps that turning back would have been a total bummer. Nice enough stroll, basically a giant staircase each way and pretty boggy at the top. Met a few people doing multi-day tramps, most looking pretty muddy.
Next day we figured we'd dash up from Dawson Falls carpark to Syme Hut for lunch before some light showers mid-late afternoon. It's a stiff walk to the hut, around 5km gaining a little over 1000m in height, first half is mostly steps and boardwalk, the second half is scoria. They've put new poles in which made finding the route easy enough, although at times it felt like 1 step forward, 2 steps back. Heavy legs meant we didn't quite get there in time to miss the weather, just managed to pop out above the clouds and catch a little sun at the hut after lunch before heading back down the same way.