Other Great Hikes
Things to do in Ohakune
11kms out of Ohakune up the Ohakune Mountain Road sits this gem of a track for all levels of fitness with a return journey of just over 4kms. The 39 m Waitonga Falls is Tongariro National Park’s highest waterfall. The well-formed track passes through mountain beech and kaikawaka forest and stunning views of Mount Ruapehu are enjoyed whilst walking along the alpine walkway.
Anchored by the Giant Carrot at the Southeastern end of Ohakune township, the Jubilee Walkway winds its way through native bush, making an easy 20 minute stroll. Suitable for all ages, the track follows the Mangateitei Stream through beautiful scenic reserve to finish at Burns Street at the south western end of town. You can easily link up with the southern end of the Mangawhero River Walkway and add the riverside walk up to the base of the mountain road.
Probably the most accessible track in Ohakune, this scenic riverside walkway will take you from the Junction end of Ohakune to the town proper, also presenting the option to link up to the Jubilee Walkway. Following the natural meander of the Mangawhero river, the well maintained track makes the most of the beautiful waterway with an easy, family friendly walk. The swing bridge over the river at the halfway point makes for a fun landmark and gives the option to cut the track shorter if those little legs are getting tired. Pushing on however can be worth it, as the southern half of the walkway pops in and out of light forest to reveal picturesque swimming holes.
Winding through dense native forest on the lower slopes of Mount Ruapehu, the well maintained Mangawhero forest walk is an absolute must do for nature lovers. A short distance from town, the entrance to the track is easily accessible from the car park at the base of the mountain road. The track is a near loop, heading uphill at first for 1.5km to a campground clearing suitable for picnics, then over the Mangawhero river bridge to gently stroll back down through the bush on the opposite side of the mountain road.For a full look at the Ohakune circuit, you can connect up with the northern end of the Mangawhero river walk, then follow the Jubilee Walkway, linking the three trails all the way from mountain to township. Cutting away at the base of the Mangawhero Forest walk, the Rimu Walkway is a beautiful 15 minute side loop suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
As a southern vent in the Pacific Rim volcanic chain, the Lakes reserve is well worth a visit. Approximately 2.5km from Ohakune on the road towards Raetihi you will find this 1.8km loop track off Lakes Road. With phenomenal views across the southern end of the small lake, the track is a combination of metal and dirt, making an easy stroll through beautiful, well established bush.
An easy walk of up to 6 km, Lake Rotopounamu nestles into the western side of Mount Pihanga. 30kms from National Park off SH47, the parking area is signposted on the south side of Te Ponanga Saddle. Beginning opposite the parking area, the track winds gently uphill to the track junction. To walk around the lake, turn right and follow a short section of gravelled track before dropping down towards Five Minute Beach.For a shorter option, from the road, take the track up to the junction and turn left. This short 20 minute walk will bring you to Ten Minute Beach, a pleasant picnic and swimming spot in summer.
Magnificent Mangawhero Falls is a 28 metre waterfall, 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.
Tawhai Falls is 13 metre high waterfall located in Tongariro National Park, along the way to Whakapapa Village. Easy and enjoyable walk brings you to the waterfall’s lookout, then to the falls base where you can find ‘natural rocky Trolls’ (exactly as described in the ‘Hobbit’). Begins 4 km below Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre on SH 48.
A three hour tramp in the native bush of the Whanganui National Park from Whakahoro starting at Blue Duck Station which is a privately owned working sheep and beef station with a variety of activities on offer.
2-5 HOUR WALKS
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 lava flow.
15km up the Ohakune Mountain Road begins 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]
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.
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 Ngauruhoe.