Day Walks | Visit Ruapehu
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Day Walks

Make the most of your time in the Ruapehu region by exploring these more challenging day walks.

Tama Lakes

This walk is loaded with beautiful scenery and jaw dropping landscapes. An extension of the Taranaki Falls Walk, The Tama Lakes track crosses undulating tussock country and alpine herb fields to reveal the beautiful alpine lakes that occupy several old explosion craters on the Tama Saddle between Ruapehu and Ngāuruhoe. An incredibly peaceful walk that escapes the crowds. Some would call it the Tongariro Alpine Crossings little brother. A 17km return trip, the track boasts imposing viewpoints of the lower lake at around 1200m, then climbs steeply to the upper lake viewpoint at around 1400m. There are no formed tracks down to the lakes themselves and the descent to both is via steep gullies. Tama Saddle also acts as a funnel for prevailing westerly winds and windproof clothing is recommended

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Taranaki Falls

Starting just below the Whakapapa Visitor Centre at Whakapapa Village this popular 2 hour return loop track is a relatively easy hike. The Taranaki Falls are located around half way and cascade over the edge if an impressive 15,000 year old lava flow. This walk is great for a day out in the national park as the Taranaki waterfall is pretty spectacular.

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Lake Surprise

This refreshing hike is nestled 15km up the Ohakune Mountain Road. It is the begining of a 5 hour backcountry hike across volcanic alpine terrain, to a broad, shallow lake set amongst beech forest and tussock. Waterfalls and bluffs complement the backdrop of Mount Ruapehu along the journey, which after a period of open rocky country, descends into Mangaturuturu Valley beside a beautiful cascade flowing over smooth bedrock 

caution: can be slippery in wet or icy conditions and in winter only attempt if you have the essential winter hiking gear, or hire a guide.

Shortly after passing the Mangaturuturu Hut, you will need to use caution in crossing the unbridged Mangaturuturu River, then climb steadily up from the river valley to eventually find yourself at the pristine and aptly named Lake, Surprise. This track required unassisted river crossings, for in depth information on the route and safety guides, please contact DOC

View From The Lake Surrpise Track - Visit Ruapehu.jpg

Silica Rapids

Starting at the DOC Visitor Centre in Whakapapa Village this 7km return varied walking track travels through mountain beech forest alongside a cascading stream, arriving at the Silica Rapids. You will see a range of vegetation along the track, and on a clear day offers spectacular views of Mount Ruapehu and Mount Ngāuruhoe.

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Skyline

One for the bucket list! Described as the 'best short walk' in Tongariro National Park, Surround your self in the mountains before the Skyline takes you from the top of the Sky Waka gondola (2,020m) to Skyline Ridge (2,300m) for breathtaking views of Mt Ngauruhoe, Lake Taupo & beyond. 

1.5-2.5hrs return. It's important to make sure you are prepared for the alpine environment here at Mt Ruapehu.

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The Ohakune Old Coach Road

Take a trip back into New Zealand's rail heritage while you walk an old coach road. The road was used to carry passengers and goods between two railheads on the North Island main trunk link before they were linked in 1908. It is an easy 15km one way walk that will take around 5 hrs if you allow time for lunch. The journey will take you through some beautiful stands of native forest with sweeping views across the district and not to forget a walk on the wild side across the old viaduct bridge above the lush bush below. 

The Ohakune Old Coach Road can be walked from either Horopito or Ohakune but because Horopito is about 500 feet higher than Ohakune it is easier to walk downhill from Horopito. A number of operators in the region will be able to drop you in Horopito if you wish.

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