Sunrise in Whakapapa Village in winter

Image: Stacey Faire | DOC


Slightly more demanding than short walks these walking tracks are either accessible from Whakapapa Village on foot or require a short drive to the start of the track.

Track overview

Walking and tramping

Various times under 6 hr Easy: Walking track

Dog access

No dogs

About this track


Ridge Track

Time: 30 - 40 min return
Distance: 1.2 km return 

Begins 150 metres above Whakapapa Visitor Centre, beside the public shelter.

After a short climb through low beech forest, the track emerges into alpine shrublands with panoramic views of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and the surrounding landscape. Return via same track.

Taranaki Falls

Time: 2 hr return
Distance: 6 km loop

Begins 100 metres below Whakapapa Visitor Centre at Ngauruhoe Place.

The upper and lower tracks form a loop with the waterfall situated around the half-way point. Tumbling 20 metres over the edge of a large lava flow, which erupted from Ruapehu 15,000 years ago, Taranaki Falls plunge into a boulder-ringed pool. From below the falls there are spectacular views into the water-worn gorges of the Wairere Stream. 

Whakapapanui Walk

Time: 2 hr return
Distance: 6 km return via same track or via the SH48 road 

Begins 250 metres above Whakapapa Visitor Centre. Take care not to confuse the Whakapapanui and Whakapapaiti track signs.

About 10-15 minutes along the track, the Whakapapanui Walk branches to the right and heads down stream. Water-logged clearings are passed as the track follows the Whakapapanui Stream. Here, beech forest affected by die-back and storm damage is slowly regenerating.

Silica Rapids

Time: 2.5 hr return
Distance: 7 km return via Bruce Road

Begins 250 metres above Whakapapa Visitor Centre.

Through mountain beech forest, the track travels alongside a cascading stream, arriving at the creamy-white terraces of Silica Rapids. Subalpine plants, amid a mixture of swamp and tussock country, feature around the track as it returns to the Bruce Road 2.5 kilometres above the starting point. This highly varied walk reveals a range of vegetation types and also has spectacular views of Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe on a clear day. 

Tama Lakes

Time: 5 - 6 hr return
Distance: 17 km return

Begin 100 metres below Whakapapa Visitor Centre at Ngauruhoe Place - an extension of the Taranaki Falls Walk.

After leaving the Taranaki Falls Walk, the track crosses undulating tussock country and alpine herbfields. Further on, the track branches to the left to Tama Lakes, while the main track continues on to Waihohonu Hut. There is a view of the lower lake (1240 metres), then the track climbs steeply to a viewpoint (1440 metres) of the upper lake. Tama Lakes occupy several old explosion craters on the Tama Saddle between Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. There are no formed tracks down to the lakes, the descent to both is via steep gullies.

Tama Saddle acts as a funnel for prevailing westerly winds and windproof clothing is recommended.

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.

Before starting out, hikers should check the weather forecast and track conditions -Tongariro National Park weather is extremely changeable year round. Be prepared for cold, wet or windy weather at all times.

Heavy rain causes increased water flows in all streams and rivers in the park and they may not be safe to cross.

Giardia may be present in some streams in the park. We recommend you treat all water before you drink it.

Take with you:

  • water- and wind-proof clothing (jacket and overtrousers)
  • warm layers (wool or polypropylene)
  • sturdy comfortable shoes or boots
  • food and plenty to drink
  • sunglasses and sunscreen
  • first aid kit

Location map

Location map of Whakapapa Village walking tracks.


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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