Explore the breathtaking beauty of Tama Lakes Walk, a scenic hiking trail nestled in the heart of Tongariro National Park. Immerse yourself in nature’s splendour as you hike through lush forests, past cascading waterfalls, and alongside tranquil lakes.
Perfect for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike, Tama Lakes Walk offers awe-inspiring vistas and opportunities to spot native wildlife. Whether seeking a peaceful stroll or a challenging hike, Tama Lakes Walk promises an unforgettable outdoor experience. Plan your adventure today!
New Zealand boasts some of the world’s most awe-inspiring hikes, including epic multiday hikes that showcase its stunning landscapes. Among these trails, Tongariro National Park stands out as a gem. While the iconic Tongariro Alpine Crossing often takes the spotlight, the Tama Lakes Walk offers an equally mesmerizing experience.
Hiking to the Lower and Upper Tama lakes unveils breathtaking vistas that rival its more renowned counterparts. My journey through this picturesque landscape left an indelible mark, making it one of my most memorable hiking experiences in New Zealand.
PIN for later reference – Tama Lakes Walk: Hike in Tongariro National Park
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About Tongariro National Park
Established in 1894, Tongariro National Park is the oldest national park in New Zealand’s North Island. This revered park boasts dual UNESCO World Heritage status, recognized for its Maori cultural significance and natural wonders.
Within its borders lie several active volcanic mountains, including the towering Mount Ruapehu at 2797 meters, the iconic Mount Ngauruhoe reaching 2291 meters, and the majestic Mount Tongariro at 1968 meters.
Do you love road trips? Read 3 Days Road Trip in North Island.
For enthusiasts of road trips, Tongariro National Park offers an enticing destination. The park is renowned for the legendary Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a challenging one-day hike covering 20 kilometres round trip.
Additionally, visitors can explore a variety of other captivating day walks, such as the summit climb of Mount Ngauruhoe, the crater climb of Mount Ruapehu, and numerous others. A comprehensive list of walks and trails is available on New Zealand’s Department of Conservation website.
How to Get to Tongariro National Park?
- By Road – For optimal convenience and flexibility, driving reigns as the premier mode of transportation in New Zealand. With many car rental options, including renowned agencies like Jucy Rentals New Zealand, travellers can easily hire cars or campervans tailored to their road trip needs. From Auckland, the gateway to adventure, Tongariro National Park beckons just 330 kilometres away, a scenic journey of approximately four hours each way.
- By Public Transport – Alternatively, public transport offers a viable option for those without access to a vehicle. Buses, operated by Great Journeys New Zealand and Auckland Transport, provide reliable connections between Auckland and Ohakune, providing a convenient gateway to the wonders of Tongariro National Park.
About Tama Lakes Walk
Opting for the Tama Lakes Walk due to time constraints, my friend and I embarked on a six-hour round-trip adventure, offering moderate difficulty. The highlights of this scenic hike include the captivating Lower Tama Lake and the serene Upper Tama Lake. Upon reaching Upper Tama Lake, we retraced our steps back to the visitor centre, concluding our memorable journey.
Pro Tip: Even during the summer months, it’s wise to pack a sturdy warm jacket, as temperatures can unexpectedly drop, accompanied by brisk winds.
Details of the Tama Lakes Walk
Two distinct paths lead to the lakes:
- The first traverses volcanic rocks and an unformed trail, while the second winds through enchanting waterfalls.
Opting for the former, we embraced the rugged terrains of the national park, navigating volcanic rocks and small streams along the way.
Hiking Statistics of the First Path:
- Total Distance: 18 kilometres return.
- Total Required: 6 hours.
- Grade: Medium.
- Type of Hike: Return.
- Starting and Finishing Points: Tongariro National Park visitor centre.
Important Note: The North Island of New Zealand boasts an array of stunning Great North Walks, offering hikers immersive experiences across diverse landscapes. These multiday hikes showcase the region’s natural splendour and are truly remarkable. While I’ve only embarked on one of these trails, the Lake Waikaremoana Track, I can attest to its breathtaking beauty and allure.
The vistas along the Tama Lakes Walk are mesmerizing. Throughout the trail, we were treated to panoramic views of two iconic volcanic mountains, Mount Ruapehu and Mount Ngauruhoe, which added to the awe-inspiring scenery.
Pro Tip: Since the walk spans an entire day, packing a hearty lunch is essential. Drawing from my friend’s hiking expertise, she recommends carrying boiled eggs as a nutritious and convenient snack.
After approximately three hours of hiking, we arrived at Lower Tama Lake, where the rewards of our efforts unfolded before us. The refreshing and picturesque lake views made every step of the journey worthwhile.
Subsequently, we embarked on the journey towards the Upper Tama Lake. The path to the lake proved challenging, characterized by steep inclines and a treacherous trail of loose gravel and mud, making it slippery and demanding. As others mentioned, Upper Tama Lake surpassed all expectations, captivating us with its even more breathtaking scenery than Lower Tama Lake.
As twilight approached, we began our return journey, opting for a route that led us through the enchanting waterfalls. This path, characterized by a few steps and dense foliage, immersed us in the tranquillity of the surrounding bushes.
The sunset cast a vibrant palette across the sky, painting a picturesque scene along our way. However, the true highlight of our hike unfolded during the final 30 minutes, as we found ourselves walking beneath the mesmerizing glow of the Milky Way. This magical moment became the pinnacle of our day’s adventure.
Pro Tip: Be sure to equip yourself with sturdy and durable hiking shoes, as the path can be muddy, slippery, and wet. Such footwear will provide traction and support for a safe and enjoyable journey.
Where to Stay near Tongariro National Park?
Many accommodation options are available near Tongariro National Park, catering to a diverse range of travellers, from budget-conscious adventurers to those seeking luxury accommodations. Here are some recommendations:
- National Park Village: This quaint village offers a variety of lodging options, including budget-friendly hostels, cozy bed and breakfasts, and comfortable motels.
- Whakapapa Village: Situated within the park, Whakapapa Village provides convenient access to the hiking trails. Accommodation options include lodges, chalets, and cabins, catering to different budgets and preferences.
- Ohakune: This charming town, located near the southern boundary of the park, boasts an array of accommodation choices, from boutique hotels to holiday parks, ensuring a comfortable stay for all travellers.
- Turangi: Positioned near the southern end of Lake Taupo, Turangi offers a range of accommodation options, including lodges, holiday homes, and campgrounds, perfect for those looking to explore the national park and the surrounding area.
- Luxury Retreats: For travellers seeking a more indulgent experience, luxury lodges and retreats are scattered throughout the region, offering upscale amenities and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
Here are some of the recommendations:
Is Hiking in New Zealand Safe for Solo Female Hikers?
New Zealand, including female adventurers, is one of the safest destinations for solo hikers. With its welcoming locals and absence of predatory animals like snakes or spiders, hiking even in the dark poses minimal safety concerns.
Nevertheless, as with any hiking expedition worldwide, taking precautions is essential. Always inform someone about your hiking plans, including your intended route and expected return time. Exercise caution when hiking at night, staying alert and aware of your surroundings to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
The Tama Lakes walk is one of the most stunning and memorable hikes I’ve ever experienced. The trail offers breathtaking views of volcanic mountains that are truly awe-inspiring and should be a must-do for every hiking enthusiast. I look forward to returning to Tongariro National Park to complete the iconic Tongariro Alpine Crossing next time.
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