Not all trails in Tongariro National Park cross dramatic volcanic landscapes. At the south end of Tongariro National Park near the town of Ohakune, you’ll find a short nature trail through a dense forest, typical of those found throughout New Zealand. Panels along the 0.8-kilometer walk describe the trees and other plants in the area. There are no big views or volcanic features along Rimu Walk, so its real appeal is as a peaceful walk with information about vegetation.
This easy walk is located along Ohakune Mountain Road, just north of the town of Ohakune on the south side of Tongariro National Park. At the start, a sign lists Rimu Walk as 15 minutes round trip and Mangawhero Forest Walk at one hour round trip. Start up the trail, which immediately crosses Mangawhero River, a forest-bordered stream.
After 100 feet, you will come to a junction with the start of Rimu Walk. Mangawhero Forest Walk proceeds to the right, while Rimu Walk starts to the left. Rimu Walk is 600 meters long, looping through a level, lush forest. In the end, the track returns to Mangawhero Forest Walk, where you will turn right to return to the car park.
The marquee trees along this loop are the Rimu trees, or red pines, which can rise over thirty meters tall and grow to be several hundred years old. There are smaller trees to examine along the loop as well, like Mahoe. Ferns and tree ferns line the level track as well.
As you hike along Rimu Walk, several signs implore you to stop and think about the forest, with headlines like “Consider the process of living,” “Consider the process of growth,” and “Consider life on the forest floor.” Here is how one of the panels describes the growth of the Rimu trees:
Consider the journey to maturity. Upward through the dark, upward through the shadows of ferns and shrubs, the infant rimu seeks the open sky. How many have tried and failed? Cell by cell build a tower of strength with roots that can brave the fiercest winds. Around you are the winners, the giants that through centuries of growth have emerged through the canopy of green. The sun rises and last sets on their leaves.
Be considerate of the forest around you as you complete this short track. When you reach the end of Rimu Walk, turn right on Mangawhero Forest Walk, pass the start of Rimu Walk, and cross back over the bridge to return to Ohakune Mountain Road. Dogs and bikes are not allowed on this wheelchair-friendly walk in Tongariro National Park.
Directions: Take State Highway 49 to the center of Ohakune and turn north up Goldfinch Street, which is directly across from the i-SITE. Drive 1.1 kilometers and continue onto Mangawhero Terrace. After 1.2 kilometers, cross Old Station Road, pass under railroad tracks, and continue north up Ohakune Mountain Road for 200 meters to a paved parking area on the left. Start from the car patk and walk north along the road to the footbridge across Mangawhero River.
Trailhead address: Ohakune Mountain Road, Ohakune, Manawatu-Wanganui, 4625, New Zealand
Trailhead coordinates: -39.39984, 175.41498 (39° 23′ 59.42″S 175° 24′ 53.92″E)
You may also view a regional map of surrounding New Zealand tracks, campgrounds, and lodging.
This 4-kilometer return hike reaches Tongariro National Park’s tallest waterfall and passes through an alpine wetland that reflect views of Mount Ruapehu.
This easy 0.3-kilometer hike leads to a viewpoint for a 25-meter tall waterfall below Mount Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park.
This 2-kilometer return hike reaches a peaceful blue lake that reflects a view of Mount Ruapehu, the tallest mountain in the North Island.
This 6.45-kilometer loop crosses a variety of volcano-influenced landscapes to reach a beautiful 20-meter tall waterfall in Tongariro National Park.
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.
This 0.8-kilometer return hike visits a short but enticing single-drop waterfall near Whakapapa Village in Tongariro National Park.
|Tongariro Alpine Crossing|
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.
This 6.4-kilometer loop visits tranquil beaches on a forest-wrapped lake in Tongariro National Park.
|More trails in New Zealand|
Explore other destinations for walking and hiking (as well camping and lodging) in New Zealand.
This campground in Tongariro National Park near Ohakuna, New Zealand has twelves sites on two loops with views of Mount Ruapehu.
|Whakapapa 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.