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 Ngauruhoe. A 17km return trip, the track boasts imposing viewpoints of the lower lake at around 1200m, then climbs steeply to the upper lake viewpoint ataround 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
Tongariro Northern Circuit
From the desert like plateau, through alpine herb fields and lush forests, to tranquil alpine lakes, the Tongariro Northern Circuit showcases just about everything that Central North Island wilderness can offer. Over the four day journey you’ll travel through a landscape of stark contrasts, with phenomenal views completely unique to this World Heritage site National Park. Meandering by Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe, you will be struck by the volcanic landscapes, gaining a close up view of New Zealand's geological and formative history. Within view of parts of the track is Lake Taupo to the north, the Kaimanawa mountain range to the east, and on a clear day you can catch a glimpse of Mount Taranaki, regally marking the western edge of the North Island.
Overnighting in huts on the way, the Tongariro Northern Circuit can be walked over two to four days in either direction. The track is well marked and signposted, but some sections may be steep, rough or muddy. For inexperienced hikers, you can easily employ the services of an experienced guide, they can let you know of the pitfalls of the track and give valuable local insight into the historical and natural features of the area. For more information and in depth day-by-day descriptions of the trail sections, check out the DOC site.
Round the Mountain Track
This multi day walk follows widely diverse terrain around the mountain, showcasing the full spectrum of varied volcanic landscapes and alpine vegetation on the flanks of Mount Ruapehu. As a four to six day hike, there are six huts with campsites available for overnight stays: Waihohonu, Rangipo, Mangaehuehu, Blyth, Mangaturuturu and Whakapapaiti. Waihohonu Hut and Campsite require advance booking in the Great Walks season, outside the Great Walks season, it is first come, first served.
The other huts and campsites are first come, first served all year round. From lush river valleys, to alpine peaks, rocky plateaus to a volcanic desert, the round the mountain track is a must for for any serious hiker. Landmarking with the huts along the way, the track can be broken into up to six parts: Whakapapa Village to Waihohonu Hut; Waihohonu Hut to Rangipo Hut; Rangipo Hut to Mangaehuehu Hut; Mangaehuehu Hut to Ohakune Mountain Road; Ohakune Mountain Road to Mangaturuturu Hut; Mangaturuturu Hut to Whakapapaiti Hut; and Whakapapaiti Hut to Whakapapa Village. For an in depth trail description of this Great Walk, go to the DOC site.
Crater Lake Hike
The crater lake lookout point at the summit of Mount Ruapehu is at 2672 m above sea level. From rugged volcanic rock in summer, to snow and ice in winter, the terrain is varied and challenging. You must be confident finding your own safe route up and down the mountain, the crater climb is only suitable for fit, experienced, and well equipped people who can make effective judgments about alpine and volcanic hazards.
The walk begins at the Whakapapa Ski area at the top of the Bruce Road on Mt Ruapehu. There may be an option of taking a chairlift up to Knoll Ridge cafe depening on weather conditions and the group's preference on the day. The walking distance is 10kms return, and will take around 6-7 hours.
The reward for your efforts is lunch on top of the North Island's highest volcano from where you can gaze down into the geothermal waters of the crater lake. On your way up and down take time to enjoy the truly spectacular views. For more information on this walk, go to the DOC site.