Silica Rapids

Silica Rapids

Whakapapa Village


19 Rankers Reviews

17 Face-to-Face

12 Tongariro / National Park Village

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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Close up of Silica Rapids
Beech trees along the Silica Rapids walk
View of Mt Ruapehu near the beginning of Walk


7 km return | 2 hours 30 minutes return

Silica Rapids is a loop track through mountain beech and subalpine shrubland in the Tongariro National Park.
A choice walk on a clear day, with views of Mt Ngaurahoe (aka Mt Doom) and Mt Ruapehu on the skyline.

A varied walk traversing alpine herbfields, the odd bog (via boardwalks), tussock country, a mosaic of mountain beech forest and a mineral saturated stream. The smorgasboard of raw minerals are dissolved in the meltwaters off the flanks of Ruapehu and deposited on the cascades of a tumbling stream.


The start of the track is signposted 250 metres above the visitor centre on the opposite side of the road.


The track is relatively even, but climbs progressively as it follows the Waikare Stream upstream.

Take a left after 10 minutes at the junction with the Whakapapanui Track. The tussock studded country is dotted with alpine bogs (crossed by boardwalks). Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe are both reminders of how this land was formed.

Once following the Waikare Stream, you are mostly in mountain beech forest with lush fern filled banks. Punaruku falls are a prelude to the creamy white series of cascades higher up the watershed. Large flat rocks make natural platforms for just being. Let all your senses take this in. Oxygenated air from disturbance by the gravity energised water, soothing sounds from gravity energised water and easy-on-the-eye white water fro gravity energised water.

It’s a bit more a climb up out of the Waikare watershed and into the Tawhainui Stream, which is crossed by a bridge before exiting onto Bruce Road 2.5 km above the village. It takes around 30 minutes walking down the road, but watch for distracted drivers.


As groundwater percolates through the rock to deeper depths, it encounters hot magma. It becomes superheated and then rises through cracks and fissures in the country rock, absorbing minerals like silicate and aluminium. As the gassy water bubbles up through a spring at the head of the lava flow, the dissolved minerals are precipitated on the streamsides. This is a geological melting pot. Planet construction - live!


Feature Value Info


DOC Central North Island

Central government organisation


North IslandRuapehuTongariro / National Park Village


  • Walking
  • Free


Showing 13 reviews of 15.

Daniela Hintermayr's avatar

Daniela Hintermayr


Ranking: 8/10

Nice afternoon walk into the sunset, well prepared trail, a negative is the walk back along the road.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

Maria Eriksson's avatar

Maria Eriksson


Ranking: 10/10

Very beautiful walk in a forest covered in Silver Beech. A walk with a little river on the side. Also very beautiful lookout/scenic view of the three volcanoes.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Sebastian's avatar



Ranking: 10/10

Super, super nice walk, best we had in the park through native beech forest with good views of 'Mt Doom'.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Brad Dobsky's avatar

Brad Dobsky

United States

Ranking: 8/10

Beautiful easy hike and not crowded.

Reviewed about 6 years ago

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Suzanne Vermeulen's avatar

Suzanne Vermeulen


Ranking: 6/10

Nice walk to the rapids, make sure not to complete the loop though but walk back from the rapids. Otherwise you'll end up walking beside the road for the last 2km

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Moss's avatar


United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Stunning scenery. Good advice at information centre. Well marked paths.

Reviewed almost 10 years ago and experienced in March 2012

Barry Dunster's avatar

Barry Dunster

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

all these tracks in the tongariro national park are superb... this track is nice and easy on your legs, two and a half hours thru some gorgeous wee mountain schrubs....... look for the venus fly traps at the silica rapids.... a friend of mine said they were native to new zealand.... wicked place to live.... i love this country

Reviewed over 10 years ago

Veronica Warren's avatar

Veronica Warren


Ranking: 10/10

Excellent walk approx 1.5 hours. Not too extreme with great views, strongly recommend.

Reviewed about 11 years ago

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Derek Woodward's avatar

Derek Woodward

United Kingdom

Ranking: 9/10

Well maintained footpaths and interesting information, though some boards so weathered, they were illegible.

Reviewed over 11 years ago

Liz Dolman's avatar

Liz Dolman

United Kingdom

Ranking: 6/10

Interesting but in need of repair in places.

Reviewed over 11 years ago

Matt Roper's avatar

Matt Roper

United Kingdom

Ranking: 9/10

A great 2 hour walk taking you along the river with great views of Ruapehu and Ngaurahoe. Seems to be less walked that Taranaki Falls walk but is just as impressive.

Reviewed about 12 years ago

Helen T's avatar

Helen T


Ranking: 8/10

Lovely 2.5 hour walk. More scenic than the waterfall walks that we also did. We did it in the rain + it was still good. When the bugs stopped singing we knew we were in for another heavy shower.

Reviewed about 12 years ago

Pieter Middeldorp's avatar

Pieter Middeldorp


Ranking: 9/10

2 hour walk, easy. The views on the landscape are very nice and there aren't too many people. Good walk for those who don't want to walk all day.

Reviewed about 12 years ago

DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick

Rankers Owner