Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park was established in 1887 as New Zealand’s first national park. The park preserves 79,000 hectares (305 square miles) at the center of New Zealand’s North Island, surrounding three large volcanoes: Mount Ngauruhoe, Mount Ruapehu, and Mount Tongariro. New Zealand’s largest volcano is Mount Ruapehu, which is also the highest peak on the North Island at 2,797 meters. Lord of the Rings fans will be keen to see Mount Ngauruhoe, a cone-shaped volcano that assumed the role of Mount Doom in the film trilogy. There are campground and holiday parks within the national park (see Mangawhero Campground and Whakapapa Holiday Park). The most famous day hike in the park is Tongariro Alpine Crossing, which crosses spectacular volcanic landscapes and is considered one of the greatest single day treks in the world.

Mount Ruapehu reflection Rotokawa Pools
Mount Ruapehu reflected in Rotokawa Pools on Waitonga Falls Track

Tracks in Tongariro National Park

This is a list of some of the walking tracks (hiking trails) in Tongariro National Park. The tracks are listed alphabetically and include a star rating based on hiker feedback (after you’ve completed one of these tracks, you can come back and give it a star rating). Each track links to a full write-up with photos and directions. The location of each track is shown on the map below.

Lake Rotokura

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This 2-kilometer return hike lies just outside Tongariro National Park (but close enough to be included on this list). The track reaches a peaceful blue lake that reflects a view of Mount Ruapehu.
Lake Rotopounamu

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This 6.4-kilometer loop around Lake Rotopounamu (a.k.a. Greenstone Lake) visits tranquil beaches on a forest-wrapped lake in Tongariro National Park.

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This easy 0.3-kilometer hike leads to a viewpoint for a 25-meter tall waterfall below Mount Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park.
Mangawhero Falls

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This short, level walk explores a Rimu forest along the Mangawhero River near the town of Ohakune at the south end of Tongariro National Park.
Rimu Walk
Silica Rapids

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This 5.15-kilometer point-to-point hike or 7.15 kilometer loop leaves from Whakapapa Village in Tongariro National Park and crosses alpine bogs, forests, streams, and ridges of volcanic rock to reach creamy cascades on silica terraces.
Taranaki Falls

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This 6.45-kilometer loop crosses a variety of volcano-influenced landscapes to reach a beautiful 20-meter tall waterfall in Tongariro National Park.
Tawhai Falls

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This 0.8-kilometer return hike visits a short but enticing single-drop waterfall near Whakapapa Village in Tongariro National Park.

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This 19.4-kilometer long through-hike ventures across dynamic volcanic landscapes in Tongariro National Park and ranks among the world’s greatest day hikes.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing

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This 4-kilometer return hike reaches Tongariro National Park’s tallest waterfall and passes through an alpine wetland that reflect views of Mount Ruapehu.
Waitonga Falls Track

 

Camping in Tongariro National Park

Places to camp can be found throughout New Zealand, including Department of Conservation campgrounds and holiday parks that are usually run privately. Holiday Parks offer powered sites where campervans and RVs can plug in. They also offer kitchens and dining areas, bathrooms with showers, and other amenities. Most Department of Conservation campgrounds are fairly basic, but some offer extra amenities as well. There are also huts for backpacks throughout New Zealand’s parks. Pricing in New Zealand is done per person and not per site. Checkout time is typically 10 a.m. and you can check in in the afternoon.

Mangawhero CampgroundMangawhero Campground
This campground in Tongariro National Park near Ohakuna, New Zealand has twelves sites on two loops with views of Mount Ruapehu.
Whakapapa Holiday ParkWhakapapa Holiday Park
This holiday park in Whakapapa Village offers tent sites, campervan sites, cabins, and a backpackers lodge along a stream below Mount Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park.

 

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Devils Punchbowl Falls Arthur's Pass National Park Hike Devils Punchbowl Walking Track Arthur's Pass Village Hiking Track Devils Punchbowl Waterfall New Zealand Devil's Punchbowl
Devils Punchbowl Falls is a star attraction in Arthur's Pass National Park. The dynamic waterfall plunges 131 meters into a canyon near Arthur's Pass Village. The area's Māori named the waterfall Hinekakai, taking inspiration from its beautiful threads of water. Visitors can reach the waterfall on a 2-kilometer (1.4-mile) round trip walk beginning from Arthur's Pass... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: May 6, 2017
Otira Valley Track Arthur's Pass National Park Hike Arthur's Pass Village Hiking Track New Zealand
Just over the north side of Arthur's Pass and 5 kilometers from Arthur's Pass Village, you'll find Otira Valley Track, which ascends a trough-shaped valley off the west side of the pass. The track ends at Otira River Footbridge. Under normal circumstances, a bridge would be an odd place to end a hike (since a bridge lead to something on the other side). The route beyond... Read more.
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Tagged with · Arthur's Pass Village · Creeks · Free Trails · New Zealand Department of Conservation · New Zealand National Parks · Arthur's Pass National Park
Distance: 3.8 kilometers / 2.35 miles · Elevation change: 125 meters / 410 feet
By: Published: Last updated: May 6, 2017
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North of Arthur's Pass Village, Bealey River passes through a narrow gorge, creating a mix of tumbling white water and blue pools. A footbridge on Bealey Valley Track crosses over this point on the river, called Bealey Chasm. Visit the chasm on a short walk beginning from State Highway 73. Bealey Chasm Walk starts with a short section of Arthur's Pass Walking Track and... Read more.
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Tagged with · Arthur's Pass Village · Creeks · Free Trails · New Zealand Department of Conservation · New Zealand National Parks · Arthur's Pass National Park
Distance: 0.65 kilometers / 0.4 miles · Elevation change: 12 meters / 40 feet
By: Published: Last updated: May 6, 2017
Old Coach Road Walk Arthur's Pass National Park Hike Greyneys Shelter Arthur's Pass Hiking Track New Zealand
This mostly unremarkable woodland walk explores the forest a few kilometers south of Arthur's Pass Village. Much of the track follows an old coach road that went to Arthur's Pass so the walk provides a history lesson on the area's earlier travelers. The easy walk is 1 to 1.4 kilometers long, starting and ending at Greynes Shelter Campground. With just 15 meters of... Read more.
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Tagged with · Arthur's Pass Village · Free Trails · New Zealand Department of Conservation · New Zealand National Parks · Arthur's Pass National Park
Distance: 1.4 kilometers / 0.9 miles · Elevation change: 15 meters / 50 feet
By: Published: Last updated: May 6, 2017
Millennium Walk Avalanche Creek Waterfall Arthur's Pass National Park Hike Avalanche Creek Falls Arthur's Pass Hiking Track New Zealand
Millennium Walk is a very short hike from the visitor center for Arthur's Pass National Park to a viewing platform alongside Avalanche Creek Waterfall. This walk is 500 meters round trip with only a few meters of elevation change, covered over stone steps at the end of the walk. If you stop by the visitor center in Arthur's Pass Village, this short walk to the waterfall... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: May 6, 2017