About the Area


There are some wonderful walks around the Tongariro National Park. Most of the shorter walks are on well-surfaced tracks and suitable for most park visitors, many of the longer walks follow poled routes only and some such as the Mt Ruapehu Crater Climb are completely unmarked and require special care.

  • Lake Rotopounamu - 2 hours 5km loop. This is a picturesque lake on the side of Mt Pihanga. It will take you 20 minutes to walk one way to the lake.
  • Meads Wall - 30 minutes. Along a marked track through rugged volcanic terrain and cinematic history. Meads Wall was a filming location for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The view across to Mt Doom (real name Mt Ngauruhoe) is spectacular.
  • Mounds Walk - 20 minutes return via same track. Debris avalanches during Ruapehu's volcanic activity are believed to have formed these mounds thousands of years ago.
  • Ohinetonga Track - 2-3 hour loop. This walk is situated between Owhango and the Whakapapa River.
  • Ridge Track - 30-40 minutes return via same track. Climb through low beech forest to alpine scrublands with panoranic views of Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe.
  • Skyline - 1.5 hour round trip. Takes you from the Knoll Ridge Chalet (2020m). You'll get some seriously good holiday photos as there are breathtaking views out to Mt Ngauruhoe, Mt Tongariro and Lake Taupo.
  • Silica Rapids - 2-3 hours 7km. This varied track is a 7km trek taking about 2.5 hours returning to your starting point via the Bruce Road.
  • Tawhai Falls - 20 minutes return via same track. The falls tumble over the edge of an ancient lava flow.
  • Tama Lakes - 5-6 hours 17km return. This trek is an extension of the Taranaki Falls track; the Tama Lakes occupy several old explosion craters on the Tama Saddle between Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. Tama Saddle acts as a funnel for prevailing westerly winds. Have a jacket with you.
  • Taranaki Falls - 2 hours loop walk. Starting from 100m below the Whakapapa Visitor Centre, with excellent views of Mt Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu.
  • Taurewa Track - 2-3 hours loop track. The track starts on the edge of the Tongariro Forest and is home to a wide variety of bird life.
  • Whakapapa Nature Walk - 15 minutes loop track. This sealed track provides wheelchair access to the unique flora of Tongariro National Park.
  • Whakapapaiti Valley - 4-5 hours 11km one way. This trek begins on the Bruce Road at Scoria Flat and takes you down joining the lower Silica Rapids track.
  • Whakapapanui Walk - 2 hours return via same track. Starting above the Whakapapa Information Centre.

Tongariro National Park walks

Multi day treks

  • Northern Circuit - 2 nights, 3 day trek around Mt Ngauruhoe. Includes much of the Tongariro Crossing, starting at Mangatepopo and finishing at Whakapapa Village.
  • Round the Mountain - 4-6 day tramp around Mt Ruapehu. For those seeking solitude, magnificent mountain views and a back country experience, this is the trek for you.
Learn more about these walks, and others, at the Department of Conservation website. Or download the Walks in and around Tongariro National Park information and maps brochure (1.78 Mb pdf).

Crater Walk on Mt Ruapehu

You can ride two chairlifts, 2020 metres above sea level to the Knoll Ridge Chalet. Then follow up the Knoll Ridge T-bar line, and continue up the valley above the last t-bar pylon. At this point a narrow foot track zigzagging up the face and onto the dome ridge. Follow the Dome Ridge to Dome Shelter. Dome Ridge is narrow and steep in places and care should be taken if there is ice on the track. You may require crampons and an ice axe.

Local guides take daily trips to the top of Mt Ruapehu to see the world famous Crater Lake. From the top of the chairlift, you set off in a group to an altitude of 2,670 metres. From the top you get a fantastic view of the Crater Lake, nearby Mt Ngauruhoe, and on a clear day you can see Lake Taupo and both coasts. Learn about the unique cultural and geographic features of the area.

crater walk on Mt Ruapehu

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