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  1. Visit Ruapehu
  2. Things to see and do
  3. Walking & Hiking
  4. Waterfalls


Tawhai Falls 1.jpg
Tawhai Falls, photo credit TNZ

Take your choice of beautiful walks in Ruapehu leading to breathtaking waterfalls

Waitonga falls
Tongariro National Park’s highest waterfall, the 39 metre Waitonga Falls, is reached via a well-formed track through mountain beech and kaikawaka (mountain cedar) forest.
On clear calm days there are fantastic views of Mount Ruapehu and the surrounding countryside. You can see reflections of the mountain in the Rotokawa pools, part of an alpine wetland area. The track begins from the parking area 11 kilometres up the Ohakune Mountain Road. 

Mangawhero falls
One of the many wonders of Ruapehu. The magnificent Mangawhero Falls is impossible to miss as it plunges  28 metres in a beautiful setting. This waterfall is the most popular one in Tongariro National Park due to its easy accessibility and perfect view of Mount Ruapehu. The track begins from a carpark on the Ohakune Mountain Road, 13 kilometres up from the rail bridge.

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.

Taranaki Falls.jpg

Taranaki Falls, photo credit TNZ

Tawhai Falls
Family friendly 20 minute return walk to an impressive waterfall, that tumbles over the edge of an ancient lava flow. This jaw dropping waterfall is also the location of Gollum's pool from Lord of the Rings. It is well worth the stop. 

Kaiwhakauka waterfall
A hidden country gem. Kaiwhakauka waterfall is a three hour tramp starting at Blue Duck Station, Owhango . There is public access for the walk starting from the cafe which is onsite. The walk takes about 1-1.5 hours each way so up to a 3 hour return trip. The track is quite flat so accessible to most, however it does get very muddy with only a little rain so hiking boots are recommended. The walk takes about 1-1.5 hours each way so up to a 3 hour return trip.

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. 

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. This is only a summer walk. 

  • Mangawhero River Ruapehu Region.jpg

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    Escape to Ruapehu, just half a day and a world away from our biggest cities, you’ll arrive in a living landscape that’s home to ancient rainforests, active volcanoes, sacred mountains, tranquil rivers, and two of our cherished national parks. Learn all about it here.

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