Around Lake Taupo there are a variety of access tracks to the tributary rivers. Some tracks are through DOC administered reserves and others across private land.

Tongariro River Walkway

Time: 3 hr, return via same track

Begins at Major Jones footbridge, Koura Street, Tūrangi; or Red Hut footbridge, 5 km south of Tūrangi, off SH1

This popular walk follows the Tongariro River south of Tūrangi. There are good views of the river’s calm pools and rippling rapids as you walk along the high banks above the river. The walk passes through native bush on the river edge and along the edge of private farmland. Keep an eye out for trout in the river pools.

The use of mountain bikes is permitted on this track. Bikers should be considerate of walkers.

Tauranga/Taupō River Walk

Time: 30 min, return via same track.

Park on south side Tauranga/Taupō River (about 12 km north of Tūrangi on SH1). Cross the bridge, the track entrance is marked on left at the corner

This track follows the tranquil Tauranga/Taupō River for 15 minutes to the shore of Lake Taupō. The beach is a great spot for picnicking, fishing and swimming. Enjoy the panoramic views encompassing the Western Bays, Motutaiko Island, Taupō town and Mt Tauhara.

Those wanting a longer walk can continue on along the lake shore toward the lake front settlement of Waitetoko. The first public access to SH1 is at Mac’s Road 10-15 minutes along the beach.

Tauranga/Taupō Reserve

Time: 30 min, return via same track.

Turn off SH1 onto Heuheu Parade on the south side of the Tauranga/Taupō River at Oruatua, 12 km north of Tūrangi. Then turn left into Kopua Street and follow the unpaved one way road to a grassy clearing beside the lake

A sign at the entrance to this clearing marks the start of this track which winds through the bush reserve to the settlement of Oruatua. After about 10 minutes walk the track branches. The options are to continue on to Oruatua Avenue (5 minutes) or take the right branch and walk for 15 minutes to the lake.

The main track soon leads to Oruatua Avenue. From here, either return via the same track or follow the road 500 metres to the beach at Oruatua. Shade trees make this a popular picnic spot in summer. There is a boat ramp and toilets.

The track can also be walked south to north from Oruatua Avenue through to Tauranga/Taupō. From SH1 it is less than 100 metres down Oruatua Avenue to the grassed accessway on the right leading to the track entrance. Once the northern end of the track is reached it is a short walk along the beach to the Tauranga/Taupō River mouth.

Waitahanui River walking tracks

Time: Varies depending on entry and exit points

Drive 12 km south from Taupō on SH1 to Waitahanui. Park at the carpark near Waitahanui Bridge on the lake-side of the road. The track begins on the true left of the river on the opposite side of the road from the lake and meanders alongside the Waitahanui River. These tracks are for fishing access. Be aware of anglers casting their lines in the numerous trout pools. The track upstream on the true left of the river is in scenic reserve as far as the third footbridge and is open to the public. All other tracks are on private land and are open to angling licence holders only.

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