Starting just below the Whakapapa Visitor Centre at Whakapapa Village this popular 2-hour return loop track is a relatively easy hike. The lower track passes through tussock and alpine shrublands before entering beech forest. On a good day Ngauruhoe can be seen as well as the older mountains of Tongariro and Pukekaikiore.
Once in the forest, the track descends to Wairere Stream then climbs alongside it, passing Cascade Falls. The forest consists of large mountain beech trees, umbrella ferns and mountain toatoa. Small native birds such as whiteheads, grey warbler and rifleman are commonly seen. From the forest edge the track passes over the Wairere Stream with impressive views of a small narrow gorge. Taranaki Falls are located at the halfway point of the track and cascade over the edge of 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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What to take
- Sturdy comfortable shoes or boots
- Water and wind-proof clothing
- Warm layers (wool or polypropylene)
- Food and plenty to drink
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- First aid ki
Find out everything you need to plan for this track and others in Tongariro National Park on Plan My Walk
Know before you go:
1. Remember that this trail is in an alpine environment which means that the weather can change rapidly. Make sure you are packed and dressed appropriately.
2. Tell someone where you are going and when you plan on being home.
3. Know your capabilities. Altitude, climbing and heat can make hikes that much more difficult.During winter, parking along SH48 in Whakapapa Village is limited to 3 hours. Parking is intended for visitors to access short walks, the visitor centre, toilets and local shops, restaurants and cafes.
4. During winter, parking along SH48 in Whakapapa Village is limited to 3 hours. Parking is intended for visitors to access short walks, the visitor centre, toilets and local shops, restaurants and cafes.