Spring brings a new energy – with exhilarating cascades, flourishing forests, flowering alpine gardens, and birdlife in high spirits. Refresh your senses in Ruapehu this springtime, and get ready for the summer to come with the best of both worlds, snow and sun!
Walking in the Tongariro national park
WARM UP ON A WALK
Despite our best intentions, many of us will need to up our fitness for the active days of summer. The Ruapehu region makes a beautiful boot camp, with walking tracks to suit every age and ability. Ease into it on a gentle Tongariro National Park trail such as the Whakapapa Nature Walk or bird-filled Lake Rotokura, or leap straight out of the blocks into more challenging tramps like Tama Lakes, or the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
WILDERNESS, WATERFALLS & WILDLIFE
Tongariro National Park’s walking trails are not only a breath of fresh air, they’re also an opportunity to get up close to many of the natural wonders that have earned the national park its UNESCO World Heritage status.
From Whakapapa Village, the popular Taranaki Falls and Silica Rapids walks take in a variety of streams and waterfalls – in full flush come spring – many of which tumble over ancient, often brightly coloured lava flows. They also pass through different types of vegetation including mountain beech, pink manuka, red tussock, and a fabulous array of alpine orchids and ferns.
The springtime scenery is no less dramatic on the south side of Mt Ruapehu, where two particularly glorious cascades can be found off Ohakune Mountain Road. The national park’s highest drop, 39-metre Waitonga Falls, is reached via a spectacular forest walk.
WHANGANUI RIVER MAGIC
If you’re looking to re-ignite your sense of adventure and are happy to paddle your own canoe, the Whanganui Journey could be for you. This multi-day river trip takes you through Whanganui National Park’s deep gorges lined with primeval forest and passing cascading waterfalls, all infused with stories from the past For a less strenuous but equally mystical experience take a jet boat tour to the magnificent Bridge to Nowhere.
GET YOUR WHEELS SPINNING
Whether you’re a beginner, a bit rusty, or already bike-fit, you’ll find Ruapehu’s awesome scenery and varied terrain perfect for oiling up your joints. Ohakune’s a great place to get started, with Te Pepe Pump Track and the easy Mangawhero River Trail perfect for families.
Following a historic byway along the edge of Tongariro National Park, the Ohakune Old Coach Road is one of New Zealand’s best half-day rides and forms part of the multi-day Mountains to Sea Great Ride. There’s plenty more for fans of cross-country riding, including the Timber Trail and 42 Traverse. Convenient bike hire and shuttle services make it all easy.
RETAIL THERAPY & RELAXED DINING
Ruapehu’s small towns and out-of-the-way places offer everything you need for a relaxing, restorative break. To maximise your feel-good factor, Buy locally made merino wool clothing from Janelle Hinch in Ohakune’s Railway Station, or enjoy a spot of shopping on Taumarunui’s sweet high street. Then enjoy heart-warming food and hospitality in local favourites like National Park’s Station Cafe, Ohakune’s many cafes and restaurants or Raetihi’s Angel Louise Café.