43 Rankers Reviews
8 Tongariro / National Park Village
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Spectacular views of Mount Ruapehu, alpine herbfields and a couple of jewels in the desert. Tama Lakes are stand-out blue in the parched landscape and the elevated viewpoint makes a great photo point.
There is one stream crossing which can be negotiated with stepping stones, shortly before the signposted junction to the lakes (around 2 hours into the walk). If it’s raining heavily, this stream may rise.
A the start of the track is signposted from Whakapapa Village at the end of Ngauruhoe Place. It is the same start point as for Taranaki Falls.
For the first 1 hour follow the well metalled track to Taranaki Falls. There are some undulations, dips into forest, but for the most part you are walking through the alpine herbfields.
At the junction with Taranaki Falls, head right at the signpost. The views of Ruapehu to the south and Tongariro and Ngauruhoe to the north get increasingly spectacular as you weave through gullies descending from the flanks of Ruapehu’s northern slopes. There is one stream crossing which can be negotiated with stepping stones, shortly before the signposted junction to the lakes.
Head left on the narrower track and after 10 minutes the Lower Tama Lake comes to view. Occupying an ancient crater and surrounded by sheer walls of volcanic rock, the deep blue water contrasts with the tussock and snow.
The climb to the upper lake is marked with poles and is steeper and rockier. There are cairns on the summit knolls. The Tama Saddle is exposed, especially in a westerly.
There is no access down to the lakes.
Return via the same track, but at the junction to Taranaki Falls, you can return via the alternative track. This passes Taranaki Falls and weaves through the montane forest alongside Wairere Stream, before passing the oxidation ponds near Ngaruhoe Road.
Tama Lakes are relatively recent in formation. Vents formed around 10,000 years ago when newer ballistic material smashed through older lava flows. The resulting craters later filled with water which had no means of escape.
The lakes remain clear, fresh and pest-free.
Central government organisation
North Island ▷ Ruapehu ▷ Tongariro / National Park Village
Showing 13 reviews of 40.
All the information you need, you will get at the i-Site. The footpath is really good. With good weather you have a great scenery. Get a jacket with you up in the lakes, it is windy.
Very beautiful tramping track through a fascinating volcanic landscape. Absolutely stunning was the view from the Upper Tama lake.
Beautiful walk through lava stone fields to the Tama Lakes. There, absolutely stunning views on the lakes and volcanoes. Make sure to go to the Upper Tama Lake!
Well maintained trail, view to Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu passed the Taranaki Falls - a silent and impressive environment. The view to the lakes is fantastic.
You really must do this hike before you leave Tongariro! Landscapes are amazing and stunning, there is not too many people compared to Tongariro Alpine Crossing and the views are completely different so I recommend to do both of them. The lake is really blue, wonderful! Nice views of mountains. Do it only with good weather.
We had bad weather for the walk so did not see much but it was a very easy walk, very fun for beginners. The lakes must have been beautiful - too much fog though.
Beautiful walk, not busy and a good walking path.
This hiking track is just perfect! On your 5-6km return track you will see turquoise volcanic lakes, the impressive snow covered Mt Ruapehu and the great views of the Tongariro National Park - excellent alternative to the famous Alpine Crossing track.
Nice and easy walk. Beautiful lakes but very windy at the top.
Amazing walking, you feel like a Hobbit walking in the 'middle heart', at the end the surprise, a beautiful crystal blue lake. The walk takes 5 hours return.
For me, this walk was better than the Tongariro Crossing because it is a lot more quiet and the view is very similar.
David and Stephan
Excellent alternative track to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing with views of 'Mount Doom', and the two volcanic lakes.
Nice and easy walk. The lakes are very nice and the scenery is amazing. Perfect walk for the day after the crossing.
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 😍