Home Grown


Check out all there is to do in the Central Plateau of NZ to keep you busy this winter and beyond...


















































The Central Plateau

The Central Plateau covers a large

area in the central North Island of New

Zealand. The heart of the area is the

mountains and volcanic area of the

Tongariro National Park and then it

fans out north past Taupo, to the west

past Taumaranui, and to the south

past Taihape. Each of the towns offer

something unique...


The largest urban area in the Central

Plateau and the 20th in the country, Taupo

is located at the outlet of Lake Taupo, New

Zealand’s largest lake. Taupo is the heart

of volcanic and thermal activity providing

natural hot springs throughout the region.

With the lake and Waikato River on its

doorstep it’s obvious that Taupo is home

to a range of water activities. However,

there is a lot more to Taupo than just the

water. Mountain bike trails and river walks

allow you to get into the outdoors, but if

it's an adventure that you are after, you’ll

find plenty of things to do in Taupo, from

Bungy Jumping, skydiving, jet boating and



On the southern edge of Lake Taupo

you’ll find the town of Turangi. Developed

on the banks of the Tongariro River, it

was originally built to house workers

from the Tongariro hydro-electric power

development project and their families but

is now a hub for outdoor enthusiasts. With

the Kaimanawa Ranges and the Tongariro

River on its doorstep, it offers a range

of outdoor activities, from hiking, biking,

fishing, hunting, skiing, rafting, kayaking

and more.


Originally a Maori settlement at the

confluence of the Ongarue River with the

Whanganui, this is where important canoe

routes linked the interior of the island with

the lower Whanganui River settlements.

Its proximity to the Whanganui River

means there are plenty of water activities

on hand and biking trails, such as the

Timber Trail, are close by.


20km south of Taumaranui, you’ll find the

tiny town of Owhango. The Whakapapa

River lies 2km east of the town and

the vast expanse of Tongariro Forest

Conservation Area and bisecting the forest

is one of New Zealand's best mountain

bike rides, the 42 Traverse. The forest also

has excellent tramping, camping and deer

hunting opportunities.

Skydiving over Lake Taupo and the Central Plateau

National Park:

Nestled between the North Island main

trunk railway line and State Highway 4,

lies what for many travelling past would

appear as an unassuming village. From

the highway, travellers will see a petrol

station, pub, hotel and a few houses much

like many other small Kiwi towns they pass


At an altitude of 820 metres, National Park

Village can truly claim the title of New

Zealand’s top town, being the highest

urban township in the country. But that’s

not what makes the village a destination of

choice for thousands of visitors each year.

As its name suggests, National Park

Village is located on the boundary of

Tongariro National Park in the Central

North Island. This makes the village an

ideal base for those wishing to explore

the natural and cultural wonders of New

Zealand's oldest national park and Dual

World Heritage Area, all year round.


Just 6km north of National Park, is home

to the famous Raurimu Railway Spiral and

a selection of accommodation options set

among and on top of hills offering some of

the best views over the park, there’s also

a pub !

Further south along State Highway 4, lies

Erua where you’ll find a mountain lodge,

backpackers, motel units and access to

a mountain bike park – all at the base of

Hauhungatahi, one of the lesser known,

yet highest volcanoes in New Zealand, at

1,521 metres.

Whakapapa Village:

16km from National Park - meanwhile lies

within the Tongariro National Park and

hosts the historic Chateau Tongariro Hotel,

the Skotel resort hotel, a holiday park, café

and tavern.

Combined these villages offer the best

access to the Whakapapa ski area and

wider Tongariro National Park, along with

an exceptional choice of accommodation

and dining options catering for all budgets

and tastes.


Located at the southern end of Mt

Ruapehu, Ohakune is the gateway to the

Turoa Ski fields. But it is also a lot more

than just a ski town, with trout fishing,

mountain biking, tramping and bushwalking

all within easy reach of the town.

As well as boasting the famous Ohakune

Carrot (the worlds largest model carrot),

the world's first commercial bungy jumping

site was established just outside Ohakune

at the old railway viaduct. This was

operated during the 1980s until the bridge

became too unsafe to continue operations.

This bridge is now restored and a highlight

of the 'Old Coach Road' walk/bikeway.


South of Ohakune on State Highway 1,

you’ll come across the small settlement of

Taihape. Built near the confluence of the

Hautapu and Rangitikei Rivers, this town

offers a gateway to some great outdoor

adventures. Home of the gumboot, Taihape

offers an access to a taste of the “real” NZ.

Why wait?

Adventure starts here

Dual Heritage Tongariro

National Park





Kayaking the Kuratau River

Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu

Water, water everwhere: and most of it you can drink

When we normally write about water

adventure a lot of it is sea based

and salty. The Central Plateau boast

numerous rivers and lakes, the most wellknown

being Lake Taupo. Lake Taupo a

surface area of 616 square kilometres,

is the largest lake by surface area in

New Zealand, and the second largest

in Oceania (after Lake Murray in Papua

New Guinea).

With that amount of aquatic room to

move there is a lot to do. One activity that

gets a lot of coverage is sea kayaking

to visit the water based Maori carvings.

The first question you ask is how did

it get there? The answer is when

traditional marae-taught carver Matahi

Brightwell paddled past a rock alcove

on Lake Taupo in 1976, he had a vision

of a tattooed face. His grandmother, Te

Huatahi Susie Gilbert of Ngati Rauhoto,

Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Maiotaki and

Ngati Whakaue, had asked the young

carver to create a likeness of her ancestor

Ngatoroirangi on a totara tree to create

a permanent connection for her family to

the land. When Matahi arrived in Taupo

there was no totara tree to carve so he

journeyed onto the lake for inspiration.

The rock alcove at Mine Bay became the

canvas for one of the most extraordinary

contemporary artworks New Zealand has

ever seen. Sculpted over the course of

four years and completed in 1980,

There are a range of guided sea kayaking

trip around Taupo some offer longer

trips and kayak hire so you can go solo.

Paddleboarding has also become popular

in recently years and these are also

available for tours or hire.

If you would prefer not to go under your

own steam, there are several charter

yacht companies offering day tours and

overnight options both skippered and

unskippered vessels.

Moving away from the lake the Central

Plateau offers some of the most

significant rivers in New Zealand, some

to cruise and some to play in. Both the

Whanaganui and Waikato have been

used for centuries as a way of getting

around the country now they are used for

paddle canoe cruises. Companies offer a

gambit of options in terms of length and


The Whanganui River has been dedicated

as one of New Zealand’s ‘great walks’ –

or should be a great float?

The Waikato river also offer a range of

guided tours the most common around

the Taupo area both one and half day

tours some of which visit some of the

local attraction like the Bungee, Huka falls


Where there are flowing rivers and

some elevation you will find white water

kayaking – the Central Plateau is a

kayaker’s playground.

The most well-known waterfall would be

Huka Falls which produces breath-taking

power and only extreme adventure gurus

have run it (and its illegal). Below these

falls Aratiatia Rapids which rise with

awesome fury when the control gates

are opened, and this creates a great

spectacle. Its important be aware of when

these food gates are open as people have

been caught unaware. Ngawaapurua

Rapids, downstream from the Aratiatia

Dam, provide real Whitewater sport. A

huge breaking wave dominates the rapids

and a strong back-eddy facilitates reruns.

You can play here for hours -

locally call Full James. The is also

a doc camp site here so it has a

strong community feel.

Another river that rises out of the

sparkling snowfields, rock-strewn

slopes and windswept tussock

plains is one of New Zealand’s

most famous recreational river

systems. The Tongariro; is the

main river flowing into Lake Taupo.

It is both a renowned rainbow trout

fishery and a mecca for rafting and

kayaking enthusiasts. The most

popular run is a 3-hour, Grade 3,

full-on rafting experience through

60 rapids on the Lower Tongariro.

The put in is at the Poutu water

intake on the Waikato Falls Road

and the takeout is on the true left

bank of the Red Hut Pool.

Often forgotten the Whakapapa

River this is the major tributary of

the Whanganui and offers good

Grade 3 – 4 rapids after heavy

rainfall. The put in is the Rangipo

Hydro Scheme intake structure off

S.H.47. Experience is needed to

negotiate the tight chutes between

boulders and some rapids may

need to be portaged. The takeout

is below Owhango on S.H.4 before

the river joins the Whanganui.

Another little gem is the Mangakino

Stream, which flows into Lake

Maraetai south east of Mangakino

township. Put in at the Sandels

Road bridge after heavy rain and

ride some bouncy Grade 3 rapids

down to the lake.

This is just a small collection of

what is available in the region

Basically if there is any sort of

rafting operation in the area there

will be good kayaking – stick to

your limitations.

Viewing the Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings on Lake Taupo

Image compliments of Sail Barbary

Canoeing the Whanganui River

Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu

Lastly a phenomenon that has grown

in popularity because of tourism is jet

boating the most famous being the

Huka jet. Which is a white knuckle

tour for a close up look at the bottom

of the Huka Falls, flying over shallow

water, spins and turn like a natural

roller coaster ride. Jet boat tour

operators are now available on most

of the major rivers.

Jetboating the Whanganui River

Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu

Water is the basis of so many

activities in the Central plateau

region. The natural central free flow

out to the edges of the region create a

playground that offers an experience,

an activity, a sport, a recreation –

something for everyone.



half price

rafting for


UNtil the end of


Grade 2 family fun trip

Image compliments of Rafting New Zealand




There are a few commercially

raftable rivers in the Central

Plateau; the Tongariro and

the Rangitikei. Both rivers

offer options for day trips and

overnight experiences so you'll

find something to suit your

needs. Some of the best fun

you'll ever have!

Rafting on the Tongariro River with Rafting New Zealand

Image compliments of Rafting New Zealand

Tongariro River:

The headwaters of the Tongariro originate in the Central Plateau and wind their way down through

the towns of Turangi until it arrives at Lake Taupo. This is New Zealand’s most fished river, but it

also proves an excellent choice for rafting.

There are three main white water sections which provide excellent rafting options, with two

gorges which are usually considered unpaddleable, (Tree Trunk Gorge and Waikato Gorge). The

river levels are controlled by the dam and two of the three sections are only able to be rafted on

the release days of the dam. The lower section of the Tongariro River offers a family friendly

experience to give a taste for first time rafters or younger children.

Section Put in Take Out Difficulty Length Time

Access 14 Rangipo Dam Tree Trunk Gorge Grade 4 5.7km 1-3 hrs

Access 13 Tree Trunk Gorge Waikato Gorge Grade 3+ 5.3km 2-3 hours

Access 10 Poutu Intake Blue Pool Grade 3 13km 2-4 hours

Scenic beauty on the Tongariro River

Image compliments of Rafting New Zealand

Access 14 has a put in just below the Rangipo Dam and is the highest

and most narrow section of the raftable section of the Tongariro. It is

graded a 4, although there are only a few grade 4 rapids, however, the

continuity of the grade 3+ sections and the inability to walk out means

it keeps its grade 4 status. Also care needs to be taken to ensure that

the takeout is not missed, as just below this is Tree Trunk Gorge, which

could be fatal if entered on a release day.

Access 13 has a more difficult access and requires a walk in and

out and rafts have to be dropped down a 15m cliff into the river. It is

rated a 3+ and also has a critical takeout point just above Waikato

Gorge, another section of the river that could prove fatal. The riverbed

through this section is small, containing the rapids and making them

steeper. Due to the accessibility, this section of the river is rarely rafted


Access 10 is the most popular section of the river and most actively

rafted, due to the ease of access and the year round flow levels allow

rafting daily on this part of the Tongariro. There are over 60 Grade 3

rapids making for an excellent half day on the river. Take out is at Blue

Pool or you can choose to continue down to Turangi township, this

part of the river offers a fantastic grade 2 rafting experience, where as

young as three years of age can take part in the thrill of rafting.

you deserve

an escape

to adventure!



Rafting the Grade 5 section of the Rangitikei River

The upper Rangitaiki River - Images compliments of River Rats

Rangitikei River:

Rangitaiki River:

One of New Zealand’s longest rivers, the Rangitikei’s

headwaters are to the south east of Lake Taupo and

the river flows through the central plateau past Taihape

and Mangakiwa, before heading out to the coast south

of Whanganui. The grade of the river varies over the

185km stretch ranging from grade 1 through to grade 5,

all sections are raftable, it just depends on what you are

looking for.

Due to the length and nature of the river, a multiday trip

is a great way to experience the area however there are

plenty of options to do day trips of varying degrees of

difficulty. The scenery is spectacular and secluded and

offers real variety.

The highlight for white water enthusiasts is the grade 5

section that ends at River Valley Lodge just out of Taihape.

This 11km section of river starts with grade 2-3 rapids and

builds to a section of the river with 10 major rapids, from

Grade 3+ - Grade 5 line up one after the other.

Rangitaiki River

Rangitaiki River

Tongariro River

Rangitikei River

Situated 45 minutes from Rotorua or around 1 hour from Taupo,

there are two sections to the Rangitaiki River; the upper section is a

busy class 3 – 4 section and lower down there is a grade 2 section

suitable for children as young as 5.

The upper section requires good teamwork but without the drops

experienced on the grade 5 offerings it doesn’t feel as scary. It runs

through a beautiful river valley with a mix of native and plantation


The lower section runs through a stunning rock gorge with lots of

freshwater springs trickling into the river that you can stop and drink

from, there is even a spot to get out for a shower under a stunning

spring fed waterfall making for some great shots to ensure you have

a strong Instagram game. There are plenty of opportunities

to float down smaller rapids or swim in the calm pools. It has a few

bigger rapids but they are just nice rolling wave trains with not many

obstacles to avoid making it a great option for families or those

looking to experience the scenery without too much excitement.

The lower Rangitaiki River - Images compliments of River Rats



Rafting New Zealand are based in Turangi and have been

operating for over 25 years and is New Zealand’s most awarded

rafting Company. A part-Iwi owned business along with Luke and

Pianika Boddington, Rafting New Zealand was established in

1991.RNZ love to raft and love to share their passion for rafting

rivers with all their clients, this enthusiasm for their excellent

product is infectious and helps to create the unique experience

that is white water rafting with Rafting New Zealand.

Rafting New Zealand first began as Rock ‘n’ River Adventures in

1991. It’s founders Rod Brown (Pianika’s dad), and Tui Brabyn,

had a vision to operate, not necessarily the biggest, but definitely

the best white water rafting business in Aotearoa (New Zealand).

This vision is realised and continued today.

Rafting New Zealand offers a range of rafting adventures from

their Grade 2 family fun trips, suitable for the whole family,

through to their Grade 3 White Water adventures and raft/

fishing adventures. They also offer multi-day trips camping on

the banks of the river. For more information check them out at


kaituna RIVER

grade 5



for over



Kaituna River:

On the border between the central plateau

and the Bay of Plenty, lies the Kaituna River.

Beginning at the outflow of Lake Rotorua

and Lake Rotama, the river flows north until

it reaches the coast near Te Puke. The top

section of the river, near Okere Falls is where

the white water begins and has been rafted and

kayaked since the early 1990's.

One of the main draw cards to rafting the

Kaituna is that you get to run the highest

commercially rafted waterfall in the world, the

Tutea Falls. The 7 meter drop is super exciting

and suitable for anyone over the age of 13.

The Kaituna River has been run regularly

by kayak enthusiasts and rafters since 1991

and has become a winter destination for

paddlers from the northern hemisphere. There

is a slalom course that has been used by

international teams for off-season training at

the entrance to the upper gorge which itself

contains a number of play features including

the famous “bottom hole”.

Tutea Falls on the Kaituna River - Images compliments of River Rats

River Valley Lodge and adventure company, is conveniently

placed at the end of the Grade 5 white water rafting section of

the Rangitikei River. It is also the start point for several more

leisurely river trips. This Grade 5 section of the Rangitikei River

has been placed amongst the top 8 rafting trips in the world by

the international brand, Red Bull. River Valley Lodge has been

operating for over 30 years and has grown to meet the demands

of the changing market.

What you will find at River Valley Lodge is a destination where

you can have fun on the river, choosing from a mix of day trips

and multi-day trips. Multi-day trips involve camping on the river

bank at night and exploring new stretches of the river by day.

They are a fun option for families or groups of friends.

There is no better way to explore the countryside, this beautiful

hill country, than by horse. Treks from a half-day to eight days will

be operating from October.

A River Valley Lodge stay, need not be just about rafting or

riding horses. The Lodge is also a great place to relax. There

are several short walks, a great swimming hole in the river, two

saunas and a spa, and plenty of places to just relax with a book.

River Valley Lodge is presently open for meals and

accommodation. Adventure activities, both on the river, or by

horse, will resume no later than the 1st October 2020, and

possibly earlier. Check out their website rivervalley.co.nz, to

start planning a stay at River Valley.

River Rats Raft & Kayak have been operating for 38 years and

have a wide range of trips so there is something for everyone.

The most popular trip is the Kaituna situated 20 minutes from

Rotorua, it features the world’s highest commercially rafted

waterfall, the awesome 7m Tutea falls. Although the trip provides

full on action it is suitable for adventurous beginners as all the

major drops run into calm water making it very forgiving for a

grade 5 trip. As well as the drops it has stunning scenery and

some fun surf holes.

River Rats also offers Grade 5 rafting on the Wairoa River and

grade 3-4 or grade 2 options on Rangitaiki Rivers and kayaking

on Rotorua's lakes. On Lake Rotoiti there are hot pools right on

the lake edge and fed from a natural hot spring. The paddle is

around an hour each way with plenty of time to relax and enjoy

the hot pools. In summer there is an evening option with a BBQ

dinner at the hot pools followed by a sunset kayak to a hidden

glow worm cave.

rangitaiki River

grade 2 &

grade 3-4


head office

hanger 14s rotorua airport

837 te ngae road

rotorua, 3074


promo code


for a 20%


free phone

0800 333 900



River Rats operates year-round and provides excellent gear to

keep you cosy regardless of the temperature.While the borders

are closed to tourists they are also offering a great discount for

the local market. Mention this article or use the code ADV20 on

their website to get a 20% discount on any of the trips. For more


46//WHERE ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS/#220 information check out riverrats.co.nz


Hooked on Fishing:

Worldwide, New Zealand is renowned

for its trout fishing and there is no better

location than the Central Plateau. We

can’t cover every aspect in these few

pages, but it will give you a taste of what

is on offer.

Almost every river, stream and lake in the

region has some ‘trout’ potential. Some

have world recognition like Lake Taupo

and the mighty Tongariro River (ranked

one of the best trout fishing rivers in the

world) but there are numerous rivers

and lakes many with easy access. Bank

walking, wading and boating are options

and provide superb fishing throughout

the region. Licenses are inexpensive

even guided trips are amazing value for


Nearly all of the central North Island

rivers and streams hold good numbers

of wild rainbow and brown trout, with

numerous on-and-off road access points

providing you with a wide choice from

small streams, spring creeks and lakes

to large rivers such as the renowned

Whakapapa and Tongariro. Most of these

major rivers also have smaller tributaries

of which many carry good fish.

If you employ a guide, (there are plenty

online or ask a local store) many have

access through private farmlands,

providing clients with an off-the-beatentrack

experience in almost untouched

back country rivers and streams. Or

you can venture into the remote ‘back

country’ yourself, where you will not see

a footprint all day. These back-country

fish have not been fished or even seen

a fishing rod, many are resident in these

rivers and grow to an impressive size.

Access can be a little more complicated

and it pays to go with a guide the first

time to anywhere too ‘remote’.



Fishing on Lake Taupo - Image compliments of Great Lake Taupo


The Tongariro River:



Sunrise on the Tongariro River - Image compliments of Great Lake Taupo

The Tongariro River near Turangi has won

a well-deserved reputation as one of the

world's foremost fishing experiences. In

winter, an estimated 10,000 rainbows and

over 1000 browns migrate up it to reach

the spawning beds.

The river is wide and fast-flowing in places,

with long gravel runs, rocky stretches

and deep lies but there is easy access,

even directly off the motorway. The fishing

pools are not only historic but legendary

among angler worldwide: Major Jones,

The Admiral's Pool, The Judge's Pool, The

Hydro, Red Hut, Kamahi, The Duchess...

During rainbow trout migrations

out of lake Taupo through

April to September the lower

Hinemaiaia offers great fly

fishing, especially. The river

generally runs very clear and is

ideal for nymphing as well as

dry and wet fly. Its banks are

overgrown, but trails give good

access. The fish often lie deep

and close to the bank, making

them a challenge to cast too.

The middle reaches of

the 'TT' as it is called offer

easy access off the main

highway and casting and

good fish between March

and September for dry, lure

and nymph fishing. In places

the bank is very high, and it

is easy to see trout laying in

the deeper pools.

Guided Fly Fishing:

The Big Lake:

Te Whaiau Canal:


Regardless your ability to fly-fish,

highly skilled or novice, fishing lake

or river you will have something to

meet your budget and time frame.

Whether it’s a half day learning on

the bank of the Tongariro river for

first timers or a day trolling around

Lake Taupo with the family, there is

something for everyone.

Local guides know where to go,

what to use and how to use it. From

half day introduction package to

full week away in the hills, drive in

– walking or even helicopter. Most

guides will provide all the gear and

organise a licence. Be prepared

most guides will not let you keep the

fish you catch but you will get some

great memories and photos.

New Zealand's largest lake (surface area of 616sq

km) is situated in the middle of the North Island on a

volcanic plateau 359 metres above sea level. Due to

its very cold clean water and abundant food sources it

produces huge numbers of well-conditioned fish. It is

very deep in places (up to 185 metres) but has many

areas that provide excellent shoreline fishing. Some

of the best areas for shoreline angling are around the

many stream mouths where fish congregate during the

warmer months and to which they migrate during the

winter spawning runs.

The most popular method for fishing the lake is trolling,

including leadline trolling, wire lining, or the use of

downriggers to troll at a deeper level. Jigging the dropoffs

and fly-fishing around the lake shore and at river

mouths are also popular methods (though note that

boat fishing is not permitted around many of the points

where rivers and streams enter the lake).

The Te Whaiau Canal is short slow

moving and deep. It generally

has steep banks with quite dense

vegetation coming down to the

water’s edge. There are few areas

however where the land opens up

allowing for good casting. Much of

the length of this water is difficult

to both find a good place to stand

and cast from. The fish numbers,

particularly early and late in the

season can be very high and the

fish tend to free risers. During the

warmer months they can often be

seen chasing emerging insects.

That said they are often very difficult

to fool and will rise close to anglers

yet reject even the most beautifully

presented fly.

The upper river rises in the Tongariro National Park and

connects with Lake Otamangakau and the Whakapapa river.

It runs through beautiful native forest, spectacular gorges and

farmland. This river has a reputation for rising quickly so it

pays to keep an eye on the weather forecast. The Wanganui

river generally clear, easy to fish and contains a good number

of trout and is renowned to have some large specimens.


The Whakapapa is a large, clear river with some wild rapids,

deep pools and long boulder runs that flows down from

Mt Ruapehu it runs through rugged country which is not

advisable for the inexperienced. Lower down it features many

kilometres of spectacular and productive wilderness fishing.

But the upper reaches you need to know what you are doing

and again be watchful of the weather.

Trout fishing anywhere in the world give you great access to

some of the most unique and beautiful aspect of the country.

But trout fishing in the Central Plateau is like nowhere else it is

varied, spectacular, full of history and legend. It offer something

for everyone, from kids fishing at the Turangi Trout Farm to heli

trip to the back of beyond. Your only limitation is time.





The Central Plateau offers a range of hiking options; from the

shores of Lake Taupo through to the Kaimanawa Forest and

Pureora Forest Park, but nothing quite beats the draw of the

Tongariro National Park.

Tongariro National Park is a land of volcanic wonders –

steaming craters, alpine rock gardens, surreal lakes and

tumbling waterfalls. Its hiking trails offer spectacular winter trips

complete with solitude and a backdrop of snowy peaks.

The 600-hectare national park is centred on three volcanoes,

Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro. In their foothills,

Okahune, National Park and Whakapapa Village make great

bases for exploration, as do other little Ruapehu region towns

within easy reach.

Tongariro is New Zealand’s oldest national park, established

in 1887. It holds dual UNESCO World Heritage status for its

cultural significance as well as its outstanding natural features.

The park’s striking natural beauty is the result of two million

years of volcanic activity. Ruapehu and Tongariro are two of the

most active composite volcanoes in the world.

Winter crossing of the Tongariro National Park

Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu


Know before you go:

Even experienced trampers have

come unstuck in this extreme

environment. The weather can be

especially unpredictable in winter,

with big temperature drops and heavy

downpours that can make streams and

rivers dangerous or impassable. There

are also volcanic hazards, so it’s vital to

obey all warnings and signs.

Check in with the Visitor Centre at

Whakapapa for advice, forecasts

and hut bookings. The Walks in

and around Tongariro National Park

brochure has further detail on these

tramps and others in the national park.

A topographical map is essential for

longer walks.

Above and right: Hiking in the Tongariro National Park - Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu

Day Walks:

Tongariro National

Park’s spectacular day

walks venture into all

corners and will keep

you occupied for a

solid week.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing:

7–8 hr

Snowy surrounds and low crowds make winter a fabulous time to hike

the Crossing, but you’ll need to go with a guide unless you’re an expert

alpine tramper. This challenging track starts at 1120m and winds up

the Mangatepopo Valley to the saddle between Mts Tongariro and

Ngauruhoe. You’re into crater territory as you reach the crossing’s

highpoint at 1886m.

The descent is via a rock scree track to the vivid Emerald Lakes/

Ngā Rotopounamu (greenstone-hued lakes) and Blue Lake/Te Waiwhakaata-o-te-Rangihiroa

(Rangihiroa’s mirror). The track then sidles

around the northern slope of Tongariro to descend via a zigzag track

past Ketetahi Shelter and down to the road end.

Attempting the Tongariro

Alpine Crossing in winter is a

very different experience than

during other times of the year.

From May to October, snow

and ice mean alpine skills

and experience are essential.

Therefore, the best and safest

way to enjoy the Crossing in

its full alpine glory is to go with

guide. Two Tongariro Alpine

Crossing guiding companies,

with decades of experience

and approved by the

Department of Conservation,

operate from National Park

Village - Adrift Tongariro and

Adventure Outdoors Tongariro,

and can guide you safely

across this incredible, yet risky,

wintery wonderland.

Multi Day Walks:

Round the Mountain Track:

Tama Lakes Tramping Track:

Lake Surprise:

There are two classic multi-day tramps in

Tongariro: the Northern Circuit Great Walk

and the Round the Mountain Track.

The Tongariro Northern Circuit:

3–4 days

One of New Zealand’s Great Walks, this tramp can

be completed in the winter months by experienced

trampers with all the right gear, preparation and

favourable conditions.

It’s usually started in Whakapapa Village and walked

clockwise, winding first to Mangetepopo Hut to join the

Alpine Crossing with its craters and surreal lakes. The

circuit then continues down the spectacular Oturere

Valley and around Mt Ngauruhoe’s foothills towards

historic Waihohonu Hut.

The final day sees you hike over Tama saddle between

Ngauruhoe & Ruapehu – with a possible detour to

the must-see Tama Lakes – before heading past the

tumbling Taranaki Falls to return to Whakapapa Village.

4–6 days

A more remote and advanced adventure than the

Northern Circuit, this unforgettable tramp traverses

a variety of landscapes from mountain beech forest,

tussock country and alpine herbfields, to desert lands

and glacial river valleys.

As much of the track passes through alpine terrain,

it is recommended that winter trips are completed

with a guide. The rest of the year it can be walked by

experienced, well-prepared trampers when the weather

is favourable.

Starting at Whakapapa, it heads clockwise around Mt

Ruapehu taking in many of the park’s most famous

sights: Taranaki Falls, Tama Lakes, Waitonga Falls,

Lake Surprise and Silica Rapids. It also takes in the

Rangipo desert, with its barren and peculiar beauty. Six

huts along the way each have their own character, too.

5–6 hr

This memorable walk starts at Whakapapa Village

along the Taranaki Falls Track with all its interesting

landforms and gushing streams. At the top of Taranaki

Falls, the track branches off through rolling tussock

country and alpine herbfields towards Tama Lakes.

Beyond the lower lake viewpoint (1240m), the track

climbs steeply to a 1440m-viewpoint of the upper lake.

Tama Lakes occupy several old explosion craters on

Tama Saddle between Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. In

winter, it’s essential to check in with Whakapapa Visitor

Centre on the current trail conditions.

Old Blyth Tramping Track:

4–5 hr

Starting on the Ohakune Mountain Road, this track partly

follows the historic route up Mt Ruapehu through significant

vegetation including mixed beech forest. When Blyth Track

was constructed in the early 1900s, much of the route was

through alpine bog; you can see the remains of ‘corduroy’

laid across the muddy surface. Return the same way or

walk out to the Mountain Road via the Waitonga Falls/

Round the Mountain Tramping Track, and then walk back

down the road – the views are epic.

5 hrs

Few walks are as aptly named this, but a hidden lake

isn’t the only surprise on this amazing day out. Starting

high on Mt Ruapehu, this advanced trail heads through

epic boulder fields, bluffs and scree slopes with alpine

gardens boasting a colourful array of flowers, lichens and

moss. A climb into Mangaturuturu Valley follows a waterfall

flowing over an ancient lava cascade. You’ll also pass a

70-year-old tramping hut, nestled amongst stunted forest.

Ever-changing views stretch from Ruapehu’s peak to the

edges of the volcanic plateau. The lake itself is tranquil and

untouched. The trail starts 20 minutes’ drive up Ohakune

Mountain Road.

Historic Waihohonu Hut:

3 hr

It’s well worth the half-day return hike to see this historic

hut, especially as you’ll get up close to the strange terrain

of the Rangipo desert, deep beech forest, and tussockland.

Built in 1903/04 as a stopover for stagecoaches, it’s

constructed of a double layer of corrugated iron with a layer

of pumice between. No longer used for accommodation, the

hut is preserved as an historical building and is classified by

the Heritage New Zealand. This track starts off the Desert

Rd (SH1), signposted 35km south of Turangi.





Short Walks:

A series of short nature trails in Tongariro

National Park take in the various habitats home

to fascinating and diverse native flora and

fauna, and are a great way to get to know the

park’s places and stories.

Taranaki Falls:

2 hr

A popular short walk form Whakapapa Village, this track’s upper and lower sections

form a loop and cross a variety of landforms along the way. It also offers spectacular

long-range views, and takes in various alpine vegetation types including pretty alpine

shrublands and beech forest. On a clear day Ngauruhoe’s symmetrical cone and

the older, eroded mountains of Tongariro and Pukekaikiore can be seen. There are

plenty of lovely sights along Wairere Stream, too, including Taranaki Falls tumbling

20 metres over a 15,000-year-old lava flow.

Silica Rapids:

Plenty of beautiful scenery to be found in the Tongariro National Park - Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu

2 hr 30 min

This is a slightly longer outing, also starting near

the visitor centre in Whakapapa. It begins along

Whakapapanui Stream, meandering through beech

forest to meet the turn off to Silica Rapids. The track

soon crosses a bubbling stream with a gold coloured

bed caused by iron oxide clays from upstream swamps.

There’s some lovely alpine vegetation along this walk

and some delightful birdlife, too.

Skyline via the Sky Waka:

1.5–2 hrs

A ride on Mt Ruapehu’s new state-of-the-art Sky Waka

gondola is a must for any visitor to the national park.

It whizzes you up in six unforgettable minutes to New

Zealand’s highest café, on Knoll Ridge (2020m).

Depending on snow conditions and your level of alpine

experience, it may be possible to head further up the

mountain, but check with the Whakapapa Visitor Centre

or local guide companies first.

Whakapapanui Walking Track:

2 hr

Another good leg-stretch from Whakapapa Village, this

trail begins just beyond the visitor centre, following the

gorgeous Whakapapanui Stream through beech forest

to reach the road 3km below Whakapapa Village. Take

in the epic mountain views as you walk back up to the

village via the highway, or return back along the forest

trail keeping an eye out for the endangered whio/blue



Waitonga Falls Track:

1.5 hrs

You can walk to the national park’s highest waterfall

on a well-formed track through mountain beech and

kaikawaka (mountain cedar) forest. The track also

passes Rotokawa, an alpine bog where the reflection

of Mt Ruapehu can be seen on still days. The Falls

themselves are 39m high and quite the sight! This track

begins high on Ohakune Mountain Road, around 11km

from town.

Timber Trail, Pureora Forest



There are so many

bike trails in the Central

Plateau, too many to list

here. So we've chosen

a couple that you can

access from each of the

major towns in the area.




Maramataha Suspension Bridge on the Timber Trail - Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu

Riders on the 42nd Traverse - Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu

From Taupo:

From Turangi:

From National Park:

1. Craters of the Moon (50km worth of


Grade 1-5

This mountain bike park, situated just

north of Lake Taupo, offers tracks for

every level of rider, from family friendly

trails to those for the more experienced

riders. Some offer excellent views of the

lake and river. Spend an hour or a full

day exploring the trails.

2. The Timber Trail (87km)

Grade 2-3 (easy to intermediate)

2 days

This backcountry adventure starts in the

Pureora Forest Village, between Te Kuiti

and Mangakino. The first day is graded

intermediate due to the initial climb. There

is accommodation at the end of the day

that needs to be booked in advance

or you can chose to camp. Day two is

considered easy to intermediate. Over

the two days you’ll experience incredible

scenery, suspension bridges and ancient

native forests.

3. Great Lake Trail 71km)

Grade 3

6 hours

Considered by some, one of the best Grade

3 cycle trails in the country. This trail follows

the northeastern shoreline of Lake Taupo.

This is an all-weather, all-seasons travese

through native forest with incredible views

across the lake towards the volcanoes of

the Tongariro National Park.

The trail has three distinct sections and can

be ridden in one day if your fitness allows.

Waihaha to Kotukutuku Stream (31km)

Begins 54km from Taupo, highlights include

a fun and flowing trail and biking over the

Kotukutuku Waterfall. From here a water

taxi will take you to the start of the next


Whangamata Road to Kawakawa Bay and

Kinloch (18km)

This section begins with a graded climb to

Rocky lookout, but it's worth the effort for

the fantastic views.

Kinlock to Whakaipo Bay (14km)

The final section climbs gently over the

Headland to Whakaipo Bay. You can do an

additional 10km loop of the headland if you

wish or continue to the finish at Whakaipo

Bay. If you still have energy to burn then

continue to ride another 13km to Taupo via

Acacia Bay.

4. Tongariro River Trail (15km loop)

Grade 2

1-2 hours

Starting in Turangi, follow the

Tongariro River, through farmland,

native bush and across swing

bridges. Multiple entry points and an

easy ride with family. The Tongariro

National Trout Hatchery makes for a

great stop on the way.

5. Tree Trunk Gorge (12km one way)

Grade 3-4

2-4 hours

Situated on the eastern side of the

mountain ranges this track takes you

through river crossings and magnificent

beech forest in the Kaimanawa Forest


6.Te Iringa (38km)

Grade 5

4-6 hours

A track for expert riders only set in

the backcountry of the Kaimanawa

Forest Park. Navigating steep hills,

fallen trees, and wetlands this track will

challenge the most avid rider.

7. Fishers Track (17km)

Grade 2

2-3 hours one way

From the National Park Railway

Station, Fishers Track is a mostly

downhill trail with great views of the

National Park mountains as well as

Mt Taranaki (on a clear day).

8. Marton Sash and Door

Tramway (13.8km)

Grade 2

2 hour loop

Leaving from National Park Village,

the trail follows a recovered

bush tramway route and some

backcountry dirt roads past a mix of

native forest and pine plantations.

9.The Pines Tracks (10km worth of


Grade 3-4

This mountain bike park, not far from

National Park Village, offers trails for

the intermediate to advanced riders.

10. 42nd Traverse (46km)

Grade 3-4

4-7 hours

Bike along the 42nd Traverse

following an old logging road through

the remote and rugged landscape

of the Tongariro National Park.

Start point 19km from National Park


There are a number of challegning

sections on one of NZ most iconic

mountain bike rides known for its long

and rutted downhills.

The track surfaces are often rutted

with gravel and mud, and there are

plenty of stream crossings and uphill

sections to challenge you.

Although the trail can be ridden either

direction it is recommended that you

start at Kapoors road end and finish

in Owhanga. If you look at the crosssection

map you can see why.

Cross section of the 42nd Traverse

Image compliments of DOC


Old Coach Road Trail - Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu

Bikers on the Mountain to Sea Trail - Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu

From Ohakune:

11. Lakes Reserve (1.6km loop)

Grade 1 (great for families)

An easy loop ride that takes you

around Lakes Reserve a short ride from


12. Old Coach Road (15km one way)

Grade 2

2-4 hours one way

Follow the old coach road that joins the

two railheads of the never completed

Northern Trunk Line in the 1900’s. The

trail goes through farmland, native

forest and across historic viaducts and

tunnels. See the information centre in

Ohakune for shuttle services to the start

and you'll be able to bike back to the

centre of Ohakune. The trail is varied

and scenic with plenty of historical

landmarks to break up the journey.

You'll can finish off at the famed

Powderkeg, a great place to reward

yourself with a drink for your efforts.

13. Rangataua Loop Track (18.7km)

Grade 2-3

Beautiful views of Ohakune and some

beautiful New Zealand farms including

great views of Mt Ruapehu along most

of Ratamaire Road! The ride uses

sealed roads and unsealed farm roads.

14. Ruatiti Road and Middle Road


Grade 3

3-5 hours one way

This gravel road is the link between

the Ohakune Old Coach Road at

Horopito and the Mangapurua Track

which leads to the Whanganui

National Park. Start at Horopito, just

out from Ohakune, and follow the road

alongside the Manganu-o-te-ao River

to a great free camping and picnic

spot in the Ruatiti Domain. Usually

completed as part of the Mountains

to Sea track but can be done alone.

Mainly downhill, however there are

some steep climbs towards the end.

Multi Day Trips:

15. Mountains to Sea (297km)

Grade 2-3 (easy to intermediate) Plus

one section of advanced terrain.

1-6 days

This trail takes you from the fringes

of Mt Ruapehu to the coastal town of

Whanganui, through alpine mountains

and native forest. The track uses local

biking tails, public roads and even a

jet boat ride. You can choose to do

sections of the track or the whole trail.

There is plenty to see and great places

to stop along the way.











Grading system:

Grade 1-2 = Easy: Flat. Few obstacles.

Grade 2-3 = Intermediate: Moderately

steep. Uneven terrain with some


Grade 3-4 = Advanced: Some technical

terrain and limited alternate lines.

Grade 4-5 = Expert: Mostly technical

terrain. Advanced features with no

alternate routes

Terrain Park: With multiple rides and








Skiing the volcano: It's easier than it sounds

Like Mt Fuji, Ruapehu rises from a desert

plain and is a stunning site against a clear

blue sky, and it is still an active volcano.

There are three ski fields on Ruapehu, two

commercial; Turoa and Whakapapa and one

club field Tukino. The commercial fields are

serviced by local communities; National Park

Village and Ohakune. The two are operated

together, with a combined lift ticket for both

fields. Together, they are considered to be

the largest ski resort in New Zealand and

possibly the southern hemisphere.




Whakapapa is on the northern side of Mount

Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park. The ski

season is generally from late June to late

October, depending on snow and weather

conditions. The terrain at Whakapapa is

loosely divided up as 25% beginner, 50%

intermediate and 25% advanced. Recently

there have been several significant changes

to this side of the mountain with the

introduction of a multi-million dollar mountain

gondola which makes access quicker and


Access to the ski field is by Bruce Road, a

two-lane, 6 km (3.7 mi) sealed road. There

is the accommodation on the mountain, but

you need to join a lodge. There is also an

array of accommodation at the mountain

base and National Park Village.

Tukino Club Field

Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu


Tukino on the eastern face of Mount

Ruapehu. The field is a club managed

field, but open to the general public. The

ski area is serviced by two tows and an

over-snow vehicle giving access for skiing.

Tukino is known for its untouched trails,

uncrowded slopes, friendly atmosphere

and good weather. Accommodation is

available at Tukino for those that want to

stay and play, but bookings are essential.

Access is via the Tukino Access Road from

the Desert Road and is suitable for fourwheel-drive

vehicles only during the winter

months. Transport can be arranged by

contacting the ski field.

Whakapapa Ski Field - Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu


Image compliments Mt Ruapehu





$830 for studio Queen unit with My-Sky

Package includes:

Transport up the mountain with flexible pick up times

Ride up the Gondola to NZs highest restaurant for two

and lunch for two.

(Those wanting larger family accommodation

contact Gillian on 021351103)

Bed and Breakfast

Budget Lodge Accommodation

Self-Contained Motel Units

Packages available for skiing and Tongariro Crossing

adventurenationalpark.co.nz | 0800 621 061

Snowboarder at Turoa - Image compliments Mt Ruapehu


Turoa (or Tūroa) is on the south-western side of Mt

Ruapehu. The area has been used for skiing since

the completion of the Mountain Road, but the first lifts

opened in 1978.

There are two beginner areas, and many

intermediate and advanced trails. The upper field is

a mix of natural pipes, steep drops, fast plains, and

more accessible slopes. The field is 500 hectares and

has 722 metres (2,369 feet) vertical drops.

The ski field is reached via the Mountain Road from

the town of Ohakune. The Mountain Road was built

by locals from Ohakune, mostly during weekends

after they formed the Mountain Road Association

in 1952. They aimed to open Ruapehu's southern

slopes for skiing, partly as a replacement industry for

the decline in logging which had sustained the town

for the previous decades

On a good day, it is possible to hike to the top of the

mountain with skis or snowboard in hand, view the

Crater Lake, and then ski back down to the field, or

Whakapapa. Also on a clear day, Mount Taranaki can

be seen.



Central Taupo Motel accommodation

searchers look for the best central location,

quality reviews and great service.

Welcome to Acapulco Motor Inn, the best

affordable Taupo Motel.

This Taupo Motel is a kiwi family run

business that loves their job and takes pride

in presenting the best choice for a Taupo

Motel. A short walk to central Taupo with an

array of shops and eateries. Try some local

kiwi flavours and some Must Do activities to

maximise your Taupo visit.

Acapulco Taupo Motor Inn has a range of

accommodation choices that can sleep from

1 to 8 guests. Some Motel rooms have a spa

Pool or spa bath. All Motel rooms have air


Check through our accommodation choices

to match your needs to the best Acapulco

Motor Inn room or apartment.

A: 19 Rifle Range Road, Taupo 3330 | T: +64 7 378 7174 | F: +64 7 378 7555 | M: +64 21 800 118

E: stay@acapulcotaupo.co.nz W: www.acapulcotaupo.co.nz

The Alpine Centre

Home of Ski Biz and Snowzone!

When you're looking to buy or rent ski & snowboarding gear, or for workshop tuning or Hiking Gear rental – The Alpine

Centre located in National Park Village is the place to go.

The Alpine Centre is an amalgamation of two long serving winter businesses Ski Biz and Snowzone (Roy Turner Ski

Shop). At the end of the 2017 winter owners Shona and Robbie Forbes closed Snowzone @ Roy Turner Ski Shop for

the last time, a business that had operated in National Park since 1964. With a plan to build a massive extension of the

Ski Biz rental shop, joining the two long standing businesses, by creating one super store location for rental and retail

both winter and summer, The Alpine Centre was created. Now, two years on we have a well-established Alpine shop with

gear for hiking, camping, skiing and snowboarding and are open all year round.

With the Corona Virus pandemic causing delays for all

NZ ski areas its been hard to get an understanding of

how/what may open this season, many customers may

be turning to online buying of ski gear, and we also

now have around 80% of our stock listed on our online


However, Our primary focus remains to be

predominantly an actual, customer face to face service

store. We aspire to offer real service and advice to

everyone that comes in and are always prepared to

go the extra mile to find the right equipment for our

customers' needs if we don’t have it in store. For us

it’s not about making a quick sale, see you later, we

want to keep the customer, get the chance to tune their

gear in the future, and keep a repour for many years

to come.

We believe when purchasing ski equipment, it's not

a case of buying the cheapest, prettiest deal you

can find online, but offering great sound advice and

service means our customer has the best time on the

snow. E.g. When your boots are not fitted correctly, it's

like trying to drive with a flat tyre. Or you might think

you're getting a great deal buying a cheap ski jacket or

pants but are the specs good enough for our mountain

conditions (waterproof, windproof, and breathable).

Your helmet and goggles need to sit well together, but

also fit with your head and face shape.

Thankfully all our crew this season are returning

staff from various past seasons bringing a wealth of

experience and knowledge which is awesome for both

us and our customers and a real bonus in this post

(hopefully) Corona virus new normal.

Our winter 2020 team at The Alpine Centre all share a

passion for having fun on the snow and want to ensure

that everyone who comes into our store are equipped

with the right gear they need to have the best possible

and memorable snow experience!

Ski Biz / Snowzone @ The Alpine Centre

10 Carroll Street, National Park Village

Ph 07 8922 717



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