Walks, Hikes and Climbs

A number of walks begin just off the Ohakune Mountain Road

A number of walks, all of which are well signposted and begin just off the Ohakune Ohakune Mountain Road, which is conveniently signposted with kilometre markers.


The RIMU and MANGAWHERO FOREST walks begin just beyond and opposite the Ranger Station at the bottom of the Mountain Rd. The Rimu walk takes 15 minutes and is suitable for prams and wheelchairs. The MANGAWHERO walk takes you through the magnificent Ohakune podocarp (native pine) forest. Allow 1 hour.  Near the 11-km marker is a track leading to the WAITONGA FALLS, the Park’s highest waterfall.

The track crosses an open area of tussock with Rotokawa (an alpine tarn) that reflects views of the southern face of Mt Ruapehu. Along the way look out for the native mistletoe. Allow about one hour return for this walk.

The MANGAWHERO FALLS are reached via a 5-minute walk, which starts near the 13-km marker on the Ohakune Mountain Road. The track provides great views of a beautiful waterfall over volcanic rock formations close to the road. Spectacular icicles form around the falls in winter.

The LAKE SURPRISE track begins on the Ohakune Mountain Road, 15 kilometres past the Ohakune Ranger Station. The track passes by a cascade flowing over smooth bedrock that is coated in white silica deposited from the mineral-rich alpine spring water. LAKE SURPRISE, a broad shallow lake set amongst beech forest and tussock, is reached after a steady climb from the Mangaturuturu River Valley. Allow five hours return.

OLD BLYTH TRACK begins from the Ohakune Mountain Road 7 kilometres past the Ohakune Ranger Station. 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 crosses the Waitonga Falls Track. Allow 4 to 5 hours round trip.
LAKE ROTOKURA is another popular walk that is easy and very pretty. The track takes you from the car park up to man-made lake and then onto and around LAKE ROTOKURA. On a clear day Mt Ruapehu can be seen reflected in LAKE ROTOKURA. The area adjacent to the lakes is the Karioi Rahui, a Mainland Island. Intensive pest control is being carried out in this area to return the forest to its natural state, with kiwis being reintroduced. The road to the lake walkway is sign-posted 12kms from Ohakune on SH49 towards Waiouru. CRATER LAKE CLIMB is for the more adventurous, a hike to the Crater Lake at the top of Mt Ruapehu, and is a spectacular experience offering a close-up look at an active volcano as well as stunning views of much of the North Island. In summer, when conditions are safe, the climb is not technically difficult but is strenuous and you need to seek advice from the Department of Conservation as to the conditions on the day because even in summer, weather conditions and ice can make it too dangerous. It is not recommended in winter and in some conditions in summer. There are other, unmarked walks near the Turoa Ski Field and you can enquire at the Department of Conservation Information Desk located within the Ohakune i-Site Centre, Clyde St, Ohakune.

The MANGAWHERO RIVER WALKWAY was developed by Ohakune 2000 Inc with assistance from Atihau Incorporation, the Department of Conservation, Ruapehu District Council and Horizons.mw. This easy walking track winds along the banks of the Mangawhero River. It starts near State Highway 49 and ends at the bottom of the Ohakune Mountain Road at the Ohakune Junction. The walk takes in open areas as well as beech trees with pleasant views of the mountain and surrounding countryside. The group works hard to restore and maintain the river sides in their natural state; regularly replanting native species to bring back the native birds such as tui, bellbird and fantail.

OHAKUNE COACH ROAD – a team effort between Ohakune townsfolk, Tongariro National History Society and the Department of Conservation is under way to develop the Old Coach Road between Ohakune and Horopito into a walkway and cycleway. The road used to take passengers from the Ohakune end of the Main Trunk Railway Line through to Raurimu where they would board the train to points north. Stage One of the walkway to the historic horseshoe-shaped Hapuawhenua Viaduct is complete. Stage Two, which carries on to Horopito, was due to be completed by April 2010. Ask at the Ruapehu Visitor Centre in Ohakune about progress on these tracks.

These are some of the walks close by Ohakune. There are numerous others within less than an hour’s drive in the Tongariro National Park, the Whanganui National Park, Kaimanawa Forest Park and from nearby towns. Call into the Ohakune i-Site Centre for more information.

JUBILEE WALKWAY is located in Jubilee Park, across the Mangateitei Stream from the commercial area of Ohakune and State Highway 49. The main track starts near the Ohakune Big Carrot and wends its way along the stream, ending at Burns Street. From there it is a short walk to the start of the MANGAWHERO RIVER WALKWAY. If you want to complete both the Jubilee Walkway and MANGAWHERO RIVER WALKWAY, allow approximately 1 1/2 – 2 hours return trip.