I stayed in Haulien an hours ride south of Tarako. Hualien is a small friendly town and is a good base to explore the gorge.
The first day I did not venture in too far and explored some of the main scenic points, temples and monastery and then second day I pushed further in. The ride was amazing winding around the roads and up into the mountains. At the highest peaks the place turned into a beautiful lush green landscape. I did plan to take one of the treks up there but it took around 5 hours to reach that far as it was hard not to keep stopping to take in the view. I knew I would not make it out in daylight if I started a trek and in the end I met a nice Taiwanese couple and chatted with them and shared some tea.
On the final day I wander around Hualien in the morning before catching a train in the afternoon back to Taipei.
Tarako Gorge is meant to be one of Taiwan's highlights. Located in the north east of Taiwan Tarako means 'magnificent and splendid’ in the local language of the aboriginals and that description does not overstate the beauty of the place. The gorge is a 19km canyon and it boasts the world’s deepest marble canyon. In places the canyon will be only inches apart yet rising to over a thousand feet high. Within the 19km ride you ascend from sea level to some of the tallest peaks in Taiwan at over 3800 meters.