New Zealand s loneliest mountain © Francesco Vaninetti/plainpicture
According to the legends of New Zealand"s Indigenous Māori people, the lonely Mount Taranaki wasn"t always lonely. Taranaki, the story goes, once lived among other mountains in the North Island"s center. But Taranaki feuded with the powerful volcano Tongariro over the love of the pretty peak Pīhanga. In their epic battle, the now flat-topped Tongariro lost his head but emerged victorious. The vanquished Taranaki wandered west, cutting trenches as he trudged to the shore and filling them with lovesick tears to create the region"s rivers.