Descend down a beautiful cascade with Mount Ruapeha as the backdrop, before a steady climb to a lake set amongst beech trees and tussock.

Track overview

9 km return via same track

Walking and tramping

5 hr return Advanced: Tramping track

Dog access

No dogs

About this track


After sidling around open country from Ohakune Mountain Road, the track descends into Mangaturuturu Valley beside a beautiful cascade. This section can be very slippery. The creamy coating on the cascade is due to silica and mineral rich water from an alpine spring. Waterfalls and bluffs complement the backdrop of Mount Ruapehu.

The Mangaturuturu River is forded shortly after passing Mangaturuturu Hut (1 hour 30 minutes from the road). Evidence of the 1975 lahar (volcanic mudflow) can be seen here in the scoured treeless riverbanks.

Lake Surprise, a broad, shallow lake set amongst beech forest and tussock, is reached after a steady climb from the river valley.

Return the same way or follow Horopito Track to Horopito (3 hours). Please note that local landowner permission is required to bring vehicles on to the Horopito Trail.

Getting there

The track starts 18 km up the Ohakune Mountain Road from Ohakune.

Know before you go

Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.


Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 7 892 3729
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   Whakapapa Village
State Highway 48
Mount Ruapehu
Postal Address:   PO Box 71029
Whakapapa Village
Mount Ruapehu 3951
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