12 Turangi Walks You Can't Miss© NZPocketGuide.com
12 Turangi Walks You Can't Miss

12 Best Walks in Turangi

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Walks and Hikes in Turangi

Turangi is a damn good place to stretch your legs. With Lake Taupo on one side, the Kaimanawa Forest Park on another, and the Tongariro National Park on ANOTHER side, you’ll find plenty of awesome walking and hiking tracks near Turangi. So what are the Turangi walks you can’t miss?

Check out the list of walks in Turangi below for river trails, walks in various different types of native forest, walks alongside lakes, on top of mountains, where birds are abundant and much more! And by the way, walks are not the only thing on offer in Turangi. Check out these 10 Turangi Must-Dos for more inspiration for your stay in this North Island town. Plus, for more walks in the Tongariro National Park that are within driving distance of Turangi see this list of Tongariro walks.

1. Lake Rotopounamu (2-hour Loop)

Walk among the lush forest of Lake Rotopounamu. This 2-hour loop walk circumvents the vibrant green Lake Rotopounamu with three beaches to check out along the way. Look out for native bird species like the North Island robins, tui, wood pigeons and fantails.

Location: 12km (7 miles) from Turangi. Find the walk and car park signposted about 8km (5 miles) along State Highway 47.

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2. Tokaanu Thermal Walk (20-minute Loop)

Don’t miss this short walk full of geothermal activity! The 20-minute loop walk is wheelchair accessible, taking you through native bush to several geothermal features. See steaming lakes, hot springs, bubbling mud and colourful silica features.

Location: 6km (4 miles) from Turangi. Take State Highway 41 for 5km (3 miles) and follow the brown signs for “Hot Pools”. The Tokaanu Thermal Walk starts beside the Tokaanu Hot Pools

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3. Tongariro River Trail (3-hour Loop)

This 15km (9-mile) trail along the Tongariro River can be tackled by bike or by foot. Get a mix of fantastic scenery from river views to countryside to native forest as you follow the river and cross a couple of times on swing bridges. What’s more, this walk is accessible from the town!

Location: While there are several access points to the trail, the most popular place to start is from the Tongariro River Bridge on State Highway 1.

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4. Tongariro River Lookout (1-hour Loop)

If you don’t fancy walking the whole 15km (9 miles) of the Tongariro River Trail (see above), a great alternative is a shorter loop from the State Highway 1 Tongariro River Bridge to the Major Jones Bridge, taking about 1 hour to complete. On the east side of the river, the trail ascends onto some high cliffs offering views across the Tongariro River and Turangi.

Location: Start from the Tongariro River Bridge on State Highway 1. You can start the loop from either side of the bridge. The walk from the east side of the bridge will take you up to the lookout first.

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5. Tree Trunk Gorge (1h30min One Way)

Delve into the dense beech forest of the Kaimanawa Forest Park on this mountain bike/walking trail near Turangi. The red beech provides another type of native forest to explore in the Turangi area, as well as harbouring native birds to see along the way. Be aware that there are a couple of stream crossings, one being up to knee-deep. They are easy enough to cross except for after heavy rain.

Location: 23km (14 miles) from Turangi. Take State Highway 1 south and turn onto Tree Trunk Gorge Road where the track is signposted.

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6. Tongariro Crossing (8 Hours One Way)

Turangi is often chosen as a base for the famous Tongariro Crossing as it is just 20-25 minutes drive from the Ketetahi Car Park and the town has plenty of shuttle services to The Crossing. This 19.4km (12-mile) one-way track takes you over dramatic volcanic landscapes with some of the most captivating mountain views of the country. Find out more at Guide to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Location: Location: The Ketetahi Car Park for the Tongariro Crossing is 24km (15 miles) from Turangi. Take State Highway 1 south, then State Highway 46 where the Ketetahi Car Park is signposted.

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7. Kiko Loop Walk (1h30min Loop)

This little-known walk in the Kaimanawa Forest Park will take you to some of the most rugged and stunning forests in the Turangi area. See towering matai, miro and rimu on this walking and mountain biking track). Look out for native birds too like the North Island robin.

Location: 27km (17 miles) from Turangi. Take State Highway 1 north for 10km (6 miles) then turn onto Kiko Road. Follow Kiko Road for 17km (10.5 miles) all the way to end of the road where there is a car park. Be aware that Kiko Road is a gravel road. During the last couple of kilometres toward the car park, the road narrows and is not well maintained so take it easy.

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8. Pukawa Bush Walk (45-minute Loop)

Find this walk in the small nearby settlement of Pukawa. This short bushwalk captures stunning views of Lake Taupo on its way through rimu, matai, totara and kamahi trees. There are short uphill climbs along the way.

Location: 16km (10 miles) from Turangi. Take State Highway 41 for 14km and turn onto Pukawa Road. From Pukawa Road, turn onto Hauraki Terrace where the walk is signposted.

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9. Pukawa to Omori (30 Minutes One Way)

Despite the Department of Conservation (DOC) website stating this walk is 1h20min one-way walk, the Pukawa to Omori is easily a 30-minute stroll. Walk through native forest, home to tui and bellbird, until you arrive at the Omori Reserve on the edge of Lake Taupo. Continue on the track over Omori Stream for more views over Lake Taupo and access to the small settlement of Omori.

Location: 16km (10 miles) from Turangi. Take State Highway 41 for 14km (9 miles) and turn onto Pukawa Road. Continue on Pukawa Road until it turns into Kaiuru Avenue. There is a small parking area at the end of Kaiuru Avenue where the walk begins.

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10. Motuoapa Lookout Walk (10 Minutes One Way)

Another one of those walks where the DOC timings should be taken with a grain of salt, the “20-minute” walk to the lookout offers fantastic views over Motuoapa and Lake Taupo. When starting from Tangitu Street, take the track to the right to reach the lookout. The track to the right takes you the other side of the village.

Location: 9km (5.5 miles) from Turangi. Take State Highway 1 north for 9km (5.5 miles) and turn onto Tangitu Street for the start of the walk.

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11. Oruatua Walk (30 Minutes One Way)

Walk through a mix of bush, wetland and lakeside on this short walk in Tauranga-Taupo. The Oruatua Reserve is usually full of birdlife giving you plenty to see along the way.

Location: 13km (8 miles) from Turangi. Follow State Highway 1 for 13km (8 miles) and turn onto Heuheu Parade in Tauranga-Taupo. Turn onto Kopua Street and park at the end of the road at the Oruatua Reserve sign.

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12. Urchin Track – Mt Urchin Summit (3h30min Return)

Start your walk through the wild native forest of the Kaimanawa Forest Park on this steep climb up to the Urchin Trig (1392m/4566ft). Above the bush line, you’ll get outstanding views of Mt Ruapehu, Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe, as well as the surrounding Kaimanawa mountain range. It’s a tough climb but it’s worth the view!

Location: 25km (15.5 miles) from Turangi. Follow State Highway 1 south of Turangi for about 14km (46 miles) and turn left onto Kaimanawa Road. Continue on Kaimanawa Road, following the DOC signs for the “Urchin Track”. Note that the gravel road gets steep and winding.

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The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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