THROUGHOUT THIS ISSUE,
YOU WILL SEE THE GRAPHIC
A NIKAU PALM AND THE
WORDS HOMEGROWN AND
CENTRAL PLATEAU. THAT
IS A CONNECTION, AN
INDICATION THAT HERE IS
SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR
NEW ZEALAND. IN A WORLD;
FOR THE NEAR FUTURE
WHERE WE WILL NEED TO
SATISFY OUR ADVENTUROUS
APPETITE LOCALLY, WE HAVE
TAKEN A SEGMENT OF NEW
ZEALAND AND EXPOSED
JUST SOME OF WHAT IS
AVAILABLE IN THE REGION.
THE CENTRAL PLATEAU,
USUALLY RENOWNED FOR
RUAPEHU AND SKIING,
OFFERS SO MUCH MORE
THAN JUST SNOW. THERE
IS BIKING, HIKING, RAFTING,
FISHING AND KAYAKING, THE
LIST IS ENDLESS. SO WE
HAVE HIGHLIGHTED JUST
SOME OF WHAT IS AVAILABLE
TO WHET YOUR APPETITE.
3.7 MILLION PEOPLE LIVE IN
THE NORTH ISLAND THAT IS
3.7 MILLION PEOPLE WHO
DO NOT HAVE TO FLY TO GET
TO THE CENTRAL PLATEAU;
YOU CAN DRIVE THERE.
IT IS EQUALLY A SUMMER
DESTINATION AS A WINTER
ONE. START PLANNING
NOW – FULFIL YOUR
WITH NEW ZEALAND'S MOST
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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
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
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
Skydiving over Lake Taupo and the Central Plateau
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
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
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
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.
Adventure starts here
Dual Heritage Tongariro
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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
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
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
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
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.
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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
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.
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Rafting the Grade 5 section of the Rangitikei River
The upper Rangitaiki River - Images compliments of River Rats
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
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.
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
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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
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.
grade 2 &
hanger 14s rotorua airport
837 te ngae road
for a 20%
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
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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
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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
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.
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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
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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
Above and right: Hiking in the Tongariro National Park - Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu
Park’s spectacular day
walks venture into all
corners and will keep
you occupied for a
Tongariro Alpine Crossing:
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,
Multi Day Walks:
Round the Mountain Track:
Tama Lakes Tramping Track:
There are two classic multi-day tramps in
Tongariro: the Northern Circuit Great Walk
and the Round the Mountain Track.
The Tongariro Northern Circuit:
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
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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
Historic Waihohonu Hut:
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.
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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.
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.
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:
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:
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
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Waitonga Falls Track:
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
Timber Trail, Pureora Forest
DISCOVER MORE AT VISITRUAPEHU.COM
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.
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Maramataha Suspension Bridge on the Timber Trail - Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu
Riders on the 42nd Traverse - Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu
From National Park:
1. Craters of the Moon (50km worth of
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)
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
3. Great Lake Trail 71km)
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
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
4. Tongariro River Trail (15km loop)
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)
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)
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)
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
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
This mountain bike park, not far from
National Park Village, offers trails for
the intermediate to advanced riders.
10. 42nd Traverse (46km)
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
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Old Coach Road Trail - Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu
Bikers on the Mountain to Sea Trail - Image compliments of Visit Ruapehu
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)
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)
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
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.
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.
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
Terrain Park: With multiple rides and
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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
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Image compliments Mt Ruapehu
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STAY AT ADVENTURE LODGE, NATIONAL PARK
RUAEPHU WINTER SPECIAL
3 NIGHTS BED AND BREAKY
$830 for studio Queen unit with My-Sky
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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
A range of skis for those that are never not sending. Those willing to create and explore.
Those who Ride Free. Each ski has a different personality. Designed to ensure you’ll find
the perfect match for your style. For the last three years we’ve tested all over the globe.
To ensure all conditions, terrain, and influences were considered. To build an all-new
vision of freeride. Progressive. Inclusive. Irreverent. Athlete-approved. Ready to send.
Welcome to BLACKOPS.
The all-new BLACKOPS range has been developed with a strong focus on
material sourcing and the product lifecycle. Each ski has been constructed
using PEFC certified poplar or FSC® certified paulownia wood cores
combined with recycled topsheet, base, and edge materials to help reduce
our environmental impact. Ride Free my friends.
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