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. 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.
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.
An easy walk of up to 6km, 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 gravelled 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.
The Ohinetonga Northern Loop walk is closed due to a slip. The Ohinetonga Lagoon walk is still open and can be done as a loop by walking up/down the road between the two access points on the track. An easy and family friendly 2.5km 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. Only 35km from Whakapapa Village, turn off SH4 at the 'walking tracks' sign in Owhango.