Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, there are several great hikes that start in Ohakune and finish in Tongariro National Park. This article outlines several of them. The hikes range in difficulty from moderate to difficult, and can be done in a day, a weekend, or a week. Some of them involve steep climbs, while others offer a relaxed hike along scenic country roads.
Mangatepopo car park
Located in the heart of Tongariro National Park, the Mangatepopo car park is the start of the Tongariro Crossing. It’s about a 45-minute drive from Ohakune.
If you’re planning on walking the Tongariro Crossing, be sure to book a place in the Mangatepopo car park. Parking is limited to four hours and the car park is managed by the Department of Conservation.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a one-day hike through a spectacular alpine landscape. It takes around eight hours to complete and has steep climbs and colourful lakes. It can be a challenging hike but it can also be very enjoyable. Depending on the weather, it can be a spectacular walk.
The Mangatepopo car park is the start and finish of the Tongariro Crossing. This trail is often referred to as New Zealand’s greatest day walk. It climbs through the Mangatepopo Valley to a saddle between Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe. It follows the edges of old lava flows. The track continues to Red Crater, the highest point on the crossing at 1886m. There is also a side track to Soda Springs. The final steeper section before reaching the summit is at the South Crater.
Hikers should be aware that Tongariro National Park is subject to a large amount of volcanic activity. It’s also possible for snow to fall in the summer months. If you’re planning on hiking the Tongariro Crossing, check the GNS website for alerts.
The Tongariro National Park is located in the central North Island of New Zealand. It’s 320km south of the Auckland City. It’s also accessible by the Taupo airport, which is 50km north of Turangi. There are numerous accommodation options in the town of Turangi, as well as in the nearby National Park village. There are also several hiking trails that start from here.
There are several ways to get to the Tongariro National Park, including taking a train from Wellington or Auckland. There is also a shuttle service that runs from the town of Raetihi. It picks up runners from accommodation and returns them to the Mangatepopo start of the crossing.
Probably the most challenging section of the Tongariro to Ohakune crossing is the Devil’s staircase. This is a long series of stairs that crosses volcanic debris and lava flows, rising 200 metres in a short distance. The descent is also very steep, and covered in loose scoria scree.
If you are not used to climbing in the mountains, this section of the Tongariro to Okakune crossing is likely to scare you. It is a dangerous climb and can be icy at times. It is not recommended for those with back problems or who are not fit. It is best to turn around before reaching Devil’s staircase.
If you want to stay overnight, you should book well in advance. The closest accommodation is Whakapapa Village, which is close to the crossing. It is also home to a sky resort that is open from June to October.
If you have not booked ahead, you may need to leave your car in Ohakune and arrange for a shuttle bus to get you to the trailhead. This can cost around $55 to $70 NZD for a one-way trip. It is also recommended to take an avalanche transponder if you are planning to climb in winter.
The Mangatepopo Valley hike starts at 1120 metres. The hike climbs to a saddle between Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe. The hike then climbs steeply into the South Crater.
If you are planning to climb Mount Ngauruhoe, make sure the wind is not strong. Also, be sure to have clear visibility. Depending on your ability, the climb can take between one and two hours.
If you are a first-time hiker, you should make sure you have all the necessary equipment. You will need a avalanche transponder and ice axe, as well as crampons and snowshoes. If you are planning to stay overnight in one of the mountain lodges, you will need to book ahead as well. You may also want to arrange for a shuttle to get you back to your car.
The Tongariro to Ohakune trail is popular with day hikers and backpackers. It offers great views of the three mountains and blue lakes.
Rail heritage via an old coach road
Located in the Central North Island of New Zealand, Ohakune Old Coach Road is a great cycle or hiking trail. This historic route connects two railheads on the North Island Main Trunk railway.
This route is part of the Ruapehu-Whanganui Trail. It is also one of the 22 Great Rides in New Zealand. It is a scenic hiking trail and offers impressive views of the Central Plateau region. You can also cycle this route or take it on a horseback tour.
During the early 1900s, the main trunk line was a long way from being finished, so coaches carried passengers between railheads. After a few years, regular trains replaced the coach services. The first coach to carry railway passengers travelled from Raurimu to Raetihi, then on to Ohakune. The distance between the two railheads was 39km.
The old coach road was constructed in 1906 to link the two railheads. It was also used to transport goods. It was a unique way to keep the flow of passengers going. The road is now used as a cycle trail and has been restored.
There are information boards along the railway track, explaining the history of the track and the building of the railway. This pathway also passes ancient forest and wetlands. The pathway then continues down Old Station Road, clearing the Ohakune Mountain Road.
At the end of the ride, you’ll find a historic railway tunnel. This is a great photo opportunity. You can also see the remains of the original railway bridge.
There are also several grand viaducts along the road. The Taonui Viaduct is one of them. You’ll also pass the historic Hapuawhenua Viaduct. The Hapuawhenua Viaduct was originally part of the Horopito-Ohakune deviation on the NIMT line. It was completed in time for the railway to open.
The viaduct has a Category I Historic Places status from the Historic Places Trust. Today it is largely in its original condition. The viaduct is made of pre-stressed concrete. It has been restored by the Tongariro Natural History Society.
You’ll find numerous epic lookouts over the volcanic plateau. This is a genuine wonder of the natural world.
Guided hikes from Ohakune to Tongariro crossing
Located in the central North Island, Tongariro National Park has three active volcanoes. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The landscape is peppered with different shaped craters and scoured volcanic rocks. It is also surrounded by mineral deposits.
Tongariro National Park has a variety of hiking trails. One of the most popular is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. It is a full day hike, which takes a minimum of six to nine hours. It is considered to be one of the world’s greatest day walks.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing takes you through a volcanic landscape of craters and lakes. It is 19 kilometers long and passes through the Mangatepopo Valley and Tongariro National Park. The trail takes you through Emerald Lakes, and over the North and Red Craters.
The Tongariro Alpine Trail is considered one of the most scenic hiking trails in New Zealand. It follows the edges of old lava flows, passes vivid alpine lakes, and passes mountain springs. The trail is a fairly flat journey, but the weather can be unpredictable.
A shuttle service can be used to complete the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The shuttle costs 50 NZD for the return trip. Most companies require a call-in confirmation the day before the hike. You may also opt for individual bookings. This option gives you the flexibility to pick your own schedule.
The Tongariro Alpine crossing is often considered to be one of the best one-day hikes in the world. Thousands of people take the journey each year. It is also a sacred site for local indigenous people. If you are going on the hike, you should have a good camera and plenty of water.
The trail is best completed in the spring or fall. You should also ensure that you have good physical condition. The weather can be unpredictable at the top of Mount Tongariro. It is possible to experience snow until late November.
There are many accommodation options near the Tongariro crossing. You can choose from a variety of places to stay, from budget options to luxury accommodation. There are also camping options for those who prefer to stay in the park.