TRM Daily Reports lately have been featuring some better alternative walking trails to avoid the crowding and delays and parking and shuttle bus hassles on the Tongariro Crossing.
These three scenic walks are SWMBO’s best touristy day out instead. These can all easily be completed in less time than it takes for the Tongariro Crossing and each of these loop trails is short enough to be able to back out if the weather turns…
1 A one hour 3 km riverside loop walk with views over the Tongariro River and Lake Taupo (see below)
2 A two hour 5 km walk around a beautiful secluded hidden lake.
3 A two hour 6 km alpine loop walk to a spectacular waterfall.
So the report today features the Taranaki Falls loop trail. DOC’s website describes it as follows:
Time: 2 hr return
Distance: 6 km loop
Begins 100 metres below Whakapapa Visitor Centre at Ngauruhoe Place.
The upper and lower tracks form a loop with the waterfall situated around the half-way point. Tumbling 20 metres over the edge of a large lava flow, which erupted from Ruapehu 15,000 years ago, Taranaki Falls plunge into a boulder-ringed pool. From below the falls there are spectacular views into the water-worn gorges of the Wairere Stream.
But what the DOC report does not tell is the other touristy attractions – i.e. that you can walk under the waterfall for a very memorable experience – see image. Secondly, and this is just as important, is that on your return drive up Bruce Road where you can catch a chairlift up to the highest cafe in the Southern Hemisphere – the Knoll cafe, where you can recover with caffeine therapy enjoying views to die for. Or you can return to Turangi via Tokaanu for a hot thermal soak ease tired muscles and to make your skin turn to velvet for a perfect end to the big day out. Much more interesting and rewarding than following hoards of tourists on the over-crowded Tongariro Crossing…