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Nature & Wildlife

Turangi walking trails for families

  • 2 minutes

8 great tracks

Walks and hikes in Turangi

Discover Lake Taupo’s hidden secret, Turangi. Turangi celebrates the outdoors. Short walks include an exploration of Lake Rotopounamu’s walking trails with the promise of a picnic by the lake’s beach. Enjoy walking the Tongariro River Trail with the bubbling Tongariro River as a companion. Along the way discover attractions such as the National Trout Centre. Be tempted to explore the Tongariro National Park and Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

Here’s a list of walks for families and all fitness levels with even a short sharp mountain summit to think about climbing for the spectacular views.

Do you need accommodation to stay longer and discover more of the area? Click here for the best deals available in Turangi!



Rotopounamu Lake walk, New Zealand
Rotopounamu Lake walk
  1. Lake Rotopounamu

This is an active walk with deep blue lakes as a reward at the end of some steep sections on well-maintained tracks. You can circumvent the lake by checking out the lake beaches. Twenty-minute loop walk has toilets and picnic tables for a day among the North Island robins, tui, wood pigeons, and flitting fantails. Lake Rotopounamu is located on State Highway 47.


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Cars are parked on the verge of a busy highway. Remember to check for speeding traffic before crossing the road.


  • Length: various between 3km – 5km
  • Duration: 1 hour – 2 hours
  1. Tokaanu Thermal Walk

This is a perfect walk for family and friends with mobility issues, it is short, easy, and wheelchair friendly. There are boiling mud pools, and mysterious mists swirling above steaming water. Observe the coppery submerged logs and stunted native bush. The short 1 km walk is packed with volcanic highlights adding to the sense of wonder. The walk is directly behind the Tokaanu Geothermal Pools. Tokaanu is a great place to explore for visitors staying in Taupo.

  • Length 400m
  • Duration ½ hour

More thermal pool tickets are available here! Book now for 50% off!

Tokaanu geothermal walk, New Zealand
Tokaanu geothermal walk
Tongariro River walks, New Zealand
Tongariro River
  1. Tongariro River Trail

Join this walk at the various exits and entrances marked on the map supplied by the Tongariro Visitor Centre.


Do not forget the obligatory photo of yourself walking or cycling across the swing bridges.


The walk is popular with locals walking their dogs or exercising. You will pass homes, the river and views of the countryside. The 15km loop trail has a number of shorter walks including Waikari Reserve Loop and Taupahi Reserve Loop. The Tongariro National Trout Centre is also on route, which is a favourite for kids in the school holidays with its fishing for kids programme. The Trout Centre is home to the blue duck (whio) creche and freshwater aquarium along with numerous wild trout.

  • Length: various
  • Duration: 1 hour to 7 hours (walking)



  1. Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Turangi is a favourite base for the internationally renown Tongariro Crossing as it’s 30 minutes drive from the Ketetahi Car park. There are a number of shuttle services to the Crossing who will pick trampers up at the end of the one way walk. To fully understand the requirements of what can be a strenuous day tramp visit the Tongariro Visitor Center before departing to ascertain the conditions and requirements. The video about the Crossing is memorizing and worth the trip alone.



Tongariro crossing in winter, mount Ngauruhoe, the great walk, New Zealand, Tonagriro National park
Tongariro Crossing
@Tongariro Crossing Lodge
@Tongariro Crossing Lodge

Want to stay in Whakapapa Village, Tongariro National Park?

Whakapapa Village offers the closest accommodation options for the Tongariro Crossing Great Walk. Check out 11 Cheap Accommodation options in Tongariro Crossing – Best Bits and book beforehand to avoid disappointment.

Check out Turangi visitor centre – Best Bits. The kids will love the simulated earthquake room shuddering and shaking. Another great SELFIE LOCATION spot.

  1. Kiko Loop Walk

This is a lesser known short loop walk introducing fans of native forests to the sheer variety of the Kaimanawa Forest Park. The native vegetation is a podocarp forest of matai, miro, and rimu. There are glimpses of Lake Taupo through sections of regenerating forest where timber milling once took place. Look for the banded trees to stop the exotic pests, and possums from browsing, stripping the vegetation of bark.

  • Length 3.9km
  • Duration 1 – 2 hours
  • Grade Easy

Shared track with mountain bikes.

The best time to explore outdoors Central North Plateau district of Taupo, Tongariro, and Turangi is summer. Between mid-December to mid-February is ideal.




  1. Pukawa Bush Walk

Enjoy a quiet walk without the crowds on this relatively unknown gem. Reaching the settlement of Pukawa the walk is well signposted. The Pukawa Bush Walk is part of the Department of Conservation Reserves in the area. The virgin podocarp forest and lake views with birdsong is on the southwestern shores of Lake Taupo. The walks have several sections, some of which cross private land, follow signposts and respect private property.


Look closely at Lake Taupo’s shoreline and forage for pumice. Amazing, you will find thousands of years old pumice from the ancient volcanic eruption that created Lake Taupo.

Getting to Pukawa Bush Walk

Pukawa village is a 15 minute drive west of Tūrangi, signposted to the right off SH41. Public parking and toilets are available on the waterfront reserve.

  • Length 1.2 or 1.4 km
  • Duration 30 minutes – 1 hours
  • Grade Easy walking track, dogs allowed on a leash

Check DOC resource for up to date information.

Pukawa Bay walks @DOC / Anna Elwarth
Pukawa Bay walks @DOC / Anna Elwarth
  1. Oruatua Walk

This track winds through the Oruatua Reserve and Conservation Area, with options to walk a loop, either by using the beach or the road. A pleasant, easy walk where you can enjoy the native bush and wetland area.

Getting to Oruatua Walk

Turn off SH1 onto Heuheu Parade on the southern side of the river, then left into Kopua Street and follow the unpaved one way road to the grassy lakeside clearing where the track begins. This is a Department of Conservation managed walk.

  • Length 2km
  • Duration 30 – 50 minutes
Tongariro, Turangi, New Zealand
  1. Urchin Track Mt Urchin Summit

Kaimanawa Forest Park is where the serious tramping begins with a steep climb to Urchin Trig at 1392 metres. You will rise above the bush line to stunning views of Mt Ruapehu, Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe with the Kaimanawa mountain ranges adding glamour to the scenic views.

Getting to Urchin Track Mt Urchin Summit

Kaimanawa Road (approximately 15km from Turangi travelling south on state highway 1 and following the Department of Conservation signs for Urchin Track. It is a narrow gravel road. DOC describes the walk as beach forest, incredible views and a real alpine environment.

  • Length 6.6 km return via same track
  • Duration 3–4 hr

Getting to Turangi walking trails


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