Time: 5 hr return
This backcountry track begins 15 kilometres up the Ohakune Mountain Road.
After sidling down across open rocky country from the mountain road, the track descends into Mangaturuturu Valley beside a beautiful cascade flowing over smooth bedrock (caution: can be slippery in wet or icy conditions). 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.
Cross the unbridged Mangaturuturu River (caution: rises fast during and after rainfall, may not be possible to cross safely) shortly after passing the Mangaturuturu Hut, 1 hour 30 minutes from the road. Evidence of the 1975 lahar (volcanic mudflow) can be seen here in the scoured treeless river banks. Climb steadily up from the river valley, and arrive at Lake Surprise - a broad, shallow lake set amongst beech forest and tussock.
Old Blyth Track
Time: 4 - 5 hr return
This track begins 7 kilometres up the Ohakune Mountain Road.
Following part of the historic route up Mount Ruapehu, the track climbs gradually through one of the few red beech stands in the park and then passes through kaikawaka and mountain beech until it meets the Waitonga Falls Track.
When Blyth Track was constructed in the early 1900s, much of the route was through alpine bog. Logs placed horizontally across the track ("corduroy") helped improve the muddy surface. You can still see remains of this type of track.
You can either return down the track, or walk back to the Mountain Road via the Waitonga Falls Track and then down the road to make a loop.
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.
The weather in Tongariro National Park is extremely changeable all year around. Be prepared for all weather conditions.
What to take with you:
- windproof/waterproof raincoat and overtrousers
- spare warm clothing
- sturdy, comfortable shoes or boots
- food and drink
- sunglasses and suncream
- first aid kit
We recommend treating all water in Tongariro National Park.