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5 Tongariro Crossing Options For A Great Day Out

Published: (Updated: ) in Travel by .

Macpac Outdoor Walking & Hiking Gear has partnered with us to bring you the best products specifically for New Zealand. They’ll ship for FREE within NZ on orders over $100 (if under $100 it’s only $5). To reach Upper Tama Lakes, you will need to walk approximately 2.5 hours to get to Tama Lakes on Mt Tongariro. The shuttle costs $35 if you choose to do Tongariro Crossing. We swam high above the lake, to skoot around and reach the top, looking down on the Lower Tama Lake.

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The track follows a ridge before dropping steeply to a stream with good stands native trees, including miro, miro, tawa, and mature rimu. Climbing from the stream, the track winds its way around bluffs to a good lookout point with views of the falls. This track is generally easy and loops back to the parking lot at the end of the road, just behind Chateau Tongariro.

Turn left at the intersection of SH 42 and SH 47 towards Turangi. Follow the signs. You can cross a small bridge that crosses the Tokaanu Stream from the parking lot for the hot pools. Information boards provide historical information about the journey. You will enjoy wide scenes out across farmland to the distant ranges, and arrive back at the Peaks in time for a well deserved soak in the spa. The path continues on to the Falls track and crosses undulating tussock land and alpine landscape. About an hour and half later you’ll reach a junction with the track branching left to Tama Lakes.

In the background Mt Ruapehu gazes down on the lakes which were formed in explosion craters of the Tama saddle. On a sunny day, the Ruapehu peak will be mirrored in the Lower Tama Lake. Before entering the beech forest, the walk takes you through alpine and tussock shrublands. On clear days, Ngauruhoe’s symmetrical cone can be seen along with the older, eroded mountains Pukekaikiore and Tongariro.

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The track starts 250m above Whakapapa Village Visitor Centre and ends at Bruce Road, where it continues for 2.5km. Enjoy spectacular views of Mt Ruapehu or Mt Tongariro from your picnic, surrounded with native plants and birdsong. The track also begins at Ngauruhoe Terrace, Whakapapa Village. The Tupapakurua Falls track is one of the most difficult and lesser-known hikes in the area. It can be reached via National Park Village. It begins at Fishers Road. From there, it is a short 20-minute walk to Taranaki Lookout, from which you can see Mt Taranaki in clear days. From there, it becomes a back-country adventure track suitable for experienced hikers only.

At the Lower Tama Lake you can choose to continue up to the Upper Tama Lake. The elevation change from Whakapapa to the Lower Tama Lake is about 200m. To reach the view point for the Upper Tama Lake you’ll climb a further 100m up a steep 1.5km ridge.

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