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The Ruapehu region is a haven for trampers and hikers. 

There are few places in the world where you have the choice of short and multi-day hikes in not one but two national parks; Tongariro National Park and Whanganui National Park.  The Tongariro National Park holds dual status as a World Heritage area.

New Zealand's Nine Great Walks

New Zealand's nine Great Walks are premier tracks that pass through diverse and spectacular scenery. From native forests, lakes and rivers to rugged mountain peaks, deep gorges and vast valleys. Two of these spectacular walks are found right here in the Ruapehu region, the Tongariro Northern Circuit and the Whanganui Journey.

Most popular walks

Ohakune Old Coach Road

As well as being a section of the Mountains to Sea New Zealand Cycle Trail, the Ohakune Old Coach Road is also a fantastic hiking trail for those passing through Ohakune/Horopito area. For those interested in New Zealand's rail history this is a must do whether by bike or on foot.

A 10km long trail from Horopito to Ohakune with 8.5km covered in cobblestones the Old Coach Road was used from December 1906, drays and carts carried supplies for railway construction and coaches transported passengers. Once railway tracks were complete in 1908 and trains began running there was no longer a need for the road and it became overgrown. The total trail from the Ohakune carpark to Horopito is 14 kms.

Experience a piece of history and a vast range of native scenery from the Waimarino Plain (starting at the Ohakune carpark on Marshalls Road) which disappears as you enter the Tongariro National Park. Bypass the Old Gate Post, railway tunnel and trek through to the opening where the two Hapuawhenua Viaducts can be found. From there you can choose to return to the Ohakune carpark or trek on through to Horopito, passing the Haeremaere Stream and the Taonui Viaduct.

You can also begin your hike from the Horopito end. Shuttle transport is available on demand from Ohakune.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

This is popularly regarded as one of the world’s great one day walks. Starting from Mangatepopo this walk features spectacular views, volcanic landscape and emerald green coloured crater lakes. A strenuous seventeen kilometre trek, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is usually hiked from November to May and takes around 8 hours. More Tongariro Alpine Crossing information ►

Mt Ruapehu Crater Climb

Ascending to one of the five summits of the largest mountains outside of the Southern Alps, you will view the largest Crater Lake on New Zealand’s active Mt Ruapehu volcano.  The Mt Ruapehu Crater Lake Experience has got to be one of the best one day guided hikes you can do.  Starting at Whakapapa ski area, take the chairlift to 2020 meters above sea level past ancient lava flows that have been carved out by glaciation in the last 300,000 years.  Hike to Restful Ridge (about 2 hours) where the Ruapehu Crater Lake can be viewed. Then it's off back down through one of the glacial valleys that usually contains snow until February.  The best time to climb to the Crater Lake is December to April.  Allow a full day.  A reasonable level of fitness is required with  the ability to walk five hours with rest stops.    Check out more information on the Mt Ruapehu Crater Climb here.

Other short walks within Tongariro National Park :

  • Skyline Ridge is just a short walk from the Knoll Ridge Cafe, Whakapapa, Mt Ruapehu  
  • Meads Wall a marked trail starting from the top of the mountain road, Whakapapa
  • Waitonga Falls Ohakune Mountain Road, Ohakune
  • Taranaki Falls Whakapapa Village


General Information

Be prepared with the right equipment and clothing in the outdoors.  Check weather reports regularly in the region to ensure you are up to date with the latest conditions which can change very quickly especially at high altitudes.

There are heaps more tracks, trails and other land activities in the Ruapehu region. 

We recommend to also check out further details on the Department of Conservation's website.