6 km (loop)
This wonderful short walk takes in a variety of landforms, forest and shrubland along with excellent views of mountains and cascading waterfalls.
One of Tongariro National Park’s best short walks, this easy loop is jam-packed with fascinating natural sights including Taranaki Falls themselves which tumble 20 metres into a boulder-ringed pool.
The track is in two parts – an upper and lower – which form a loop with the falls around the halfway mark.
The lower track passes through tussock, alpine shrublands, and beech forest where you may see cute native birds. After a while it meets the pretty Wairere Stream and climbs past Cascade Falls before Taranaki Falls come into view.
The falls tumble over an ancient lava flow formed by the Ruapehu eruption of 15,000 years ago.
From the falls, the track climbs through forest to join the Tama Lakes Track, crossing interesting old lava flows as it goes. As it meanders back to Whakapapa it passes through tussock and manuka as it crosses a series of eroded gullies, their layers telling of successive eruptions.