Waitonga Falls Track
11kms out of Ohakune up the Ohakune Mountain Road sits this gem of a track for all levels of fitness with a return journey of just over 4kms. The 39 m Waitonga Falls is Tongariro National Park’s highest waterfall. The well-formed track passes through mountain beech and kaikawaka forest and stunning views of Mount Ruapehu are enjoyed whilst walking along the alpine walkway. There are some steps to master coming back up from the waterfall but its well worth the effort. Go to Department of Conservation for full details.
Anchored by the Giant Carrot at the Southeastern end of Ohakune township, the Jubilee Walkway winds its way through native bush, making an easy 20 minute stroll. Suitable for all ages, the track follows the Mangateitei Stream through beautiful scenic reserve to finish at Burns Street at the south western end of town. You can easily link up with the southern end of the Mangawhero River Walkway and add the riverside walk up to the base of the mountain road.
Probably the most accessible track in Ohakune, this scenic riverside walkway will take you from the Junction end of Ohakune to the town proper, also presenting the option to link up to the Jubilee Walkway. Following the natural meander of the Mangawhero river, the well maintained track makes the most of the beautiful waterway with an easy, family friendly walk. The swing bridge over the river at the halfway point makes for a fun landmark and gives the option to cut the track shorter if those little legs are getting tired. Pushing on however can be worth it, as the southern half of the walkway pops in and out of light forest to reveal picturesque swimming holes.
Winding through dense native forest on the lower slopes of Mount Ruapehu, the well maintained Mangawhero forest walk is an absolute must do for nature lovers. A short distance from town, the entrance to the track is easily accessible from the car park at the base of the mountain road. The track is a near loop, heading uphill at first for 1.5km to a campground clearing suitable for picnics, then over the Mangawhero river bridge to gently stroll back down through the bush on the opposite side of the mountain road.For a full look at the Ohakune circuit, you can connect up with the northern end of the Mangawhero river walk, then follow the Jubilee Walkway, linking the three trails all the way from mountain to township. Cutting away at the base of the Mangawhero Forest walk, the Rimu Walkway is a beautiful 15 minute side loop suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
As a southern vent in the Pacific Rim volcanic chain, the Lakes reserve is well worth a visit. Approximately 2.5km from Ohakune on the road towards Raetihi you will find this 1.8km loop track off Lakes Road. With phenomenal views across the southern end of the small lake, the track is a combination of metal and dirt, making an easy stroll through beautiful, well established bush.
An easy walk of 5km, Lake Rotopounamu nestles into the western side of Mount Pihanga. 30kms from National Park off SH47, the parking area is signposted on the south side of Te Ponanga Saddle. Beginning opposite the parking area, the track winds gently uphill to the track junction. To walk around the lake, turn right and follow a short section of graveled track before dropping down towards Five Minute Beach.For a shorter option, from the road, take the track up to the junction and turn left. This short 20 minute walk will bring you to Ten Minute Beach, a pleasant picnic and swimming spot in summer.
Whakapapa Nature Walk
A lovely family friendly 15 min loop track beginning 250m above the Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre. See examples of the unique alpine flora of Tongariro National Park from the sealed loop track. A series of information panels explain the various zones of vegetation in the park.
Te Porere Redoubt
Te Porere Redoubt is a 45 minute walk which can be found 22.3 kilometres from Whakapapa on SH 47. Te Porere Redoubt is the earthworks of a Maori fortification built by the prophet and warrior Te Kooti; the last major engagement of the New Zealand Wars was fought here in October 1869. The redoubts are an example of the Māori adaptation of classic British military construction techniques. Given they are almost 150 years old they are in remarkable condition. Standing in the trenches you can almost picture the battles. The walk to the lower redoubt is an easy 5 minutes. The walk to the upper one is a bit more strenuous, while it's not far, it's quite steep in some places, but well worth the effort.
A 5km family friendly track starting at Rotokura car park on Karioi Station Road – Look for the sign on SH49, left hand side, 12km from Ohakune in the direction of Waiouru. Lake Rotokura is sacred to the local Māori iwi (tribe) who believe its waters have healing powers. The pretty surroundings, easy access and picturesque reflections of the mountain in the waters make this a popular track. If you wish to picnic on this track, please use the grassy area by Dry Lake as eating near Lake Rotokura is disrespectful in the Māori culture. Fishing here is also strictly prohibited.
An easy and family friendly 3.8 km loop track, the track winds through a variety of attractive scenery, past Ohinetonga Lagoon and through beautiful forest. There are picnic areas and good places to swim by the river. 35km from Whakapapa Village, turn off SH4 at the 'walking tracks' sign in Owhango.