The world-famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of many unforgettable hikes through Ruapehu’s remarkable landscapes.
New Zealand’s most popular day hike, the challenging Tongariro Alpine Crossing serves up spectacular views and surreal sights such as strange volcanic rock forms, emerald lakes, and alpine gardens. It’s an essential experience for fit visitors, but is by no means the only way to survey the natural grandeur of Tongariro National Park.
Other notable day hikes include the aptly named Lake Surprise and Tama Lakes. Shorter walks abound – especially from Whakapapa Village and Ohakune – taking in must-sees including Taranaki Falls, Tawhai Falls, Waitonga Falls, Silica Rapids, Mangawhero Forest and Ohakune’s Old Coach Road.
Multi-day trips include the 3–4-day Tongariro Northern Circuit (one of New Zealand's Great Walks) and the 4–6-day Round the Mountain Track, both of which showcase the full spectrum of Tongariro National Park’s scenery.
While canoe trips are a popular way to explore Whanganui National Park, the Mangapurua and Bridge to Nowhere Tracks offer a chance to discover its hidden valleys and rich history on foot.
An awesome two-day hike with lodge accommodation midway, the Timber Trail takes in the incredible sights and stories of Pureora Forest near Taumarunui.
Local tour operators offer a range of all-seasons guided trips, allowing you to learn more about these amazing landscapes, with transport and other logistics made easy.
At peak times this walk can be very busy.
Best time: late Oct to late Apr