This track leads right around Mount Ruapehu, one of three towering volcanic cones within the Tongariro National Park. The cultural significance of this area to Maori people has earned the park World Heritage status.The track offers four to six days of quiet seclusion with magnificent mountain views in a variety of remote volcanic and forest landscapes.You'll encounter everything from mountain beech forest and alpine herb fields to desert lands and glacial river valleys. Although a greater part of the track is in an alpine environment, there are no major alpine passes.There are several side walks leading to interesting attractions such as the Tama Lakes and the Ohinepango Springs. At the springs, crystal clear cold water bubbles up from beneath the old lava flow and discharges at an enormous rate into the Ohinepango Stream.You can overnight in Department of Conservation huts which are dotted around the track at five to six hourly intervals. Tent camping is also permitted along the walk. The Round the Mountain Track can be walked at any time of year, but the safest and most popular time is from November to May. During this period the tracks are normally clear of snow and the weather is less severe. This is a mountain wilderness area where the weather can change quickly, so come well prepared. There are several access points to the Round the Mountain Track, so you're not obliged to walk the entire route. Sections of the track can be walked in 1-2 days.