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  2. Things to see and do
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  4. 2-5 Hour Walks

2-5 Hour Walks

Wanting to venture a little further? Check out these more challenging walks in Ruapehu.

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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 laval 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

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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Tupapakurua Falls
The Tuapakurua Falls walks is 4 hr – 5 hr return via same track beginning at Fishers Road, National Park Village. The first hour from National Park Village is along a four-wheel drive track before entering the Erua Forest and reaching the Taranaki Lookout. Delve further into the forest where you’ll face a few climbs and small stream crossings to the Tupapakurua Falls lookout. A really beautiful hike, and peaceful walk through the stunning native bush. The perfect walk to take time out and reconnect. 

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.    

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.

Waterfalls Descent
From the top of the Sky Waka Gondola (2,020m), descend the same path as ancient lava flows & lahars past stunning waterfalls, rugged volcanic terrain & amazing views of the Central Plateau. Follow your feet down the mountain and be amazed with the unreal scenery before being wowed by waterfalls.  1-2 hours descent to the base area. It's important to make sure you are prepared for the alpine environment here at Mt Ruapehu.

Meads Wall
Discover cinematic history when you immerse yourself in the moody scenery at Meads Wall, where several scenes from The Fellowship of the Ring & The Two Towers were filmed. A short 30 minute return walk from Whakapapa's base area.  Meads Wall drops off steeply so tread carefully as care is required whilst standing at the edge to enjoy spectacular views of the valley below and Ngauruhoe to the northeast.  It's important to make sure you are prepared for the alpine environment here at Mt Ruapehu.

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