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Taranaki Falls & Tama Lakes, Manawatu - Wanganui

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Taranaki Falls & Tama LakesBeginner

Submitted by Mal Law

Info Info
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Trail Information





Manawatu - Wanganui

National Park

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush
Open tussock/grasslands


3:00 (Slow)
2:15 (Moderate)
1:30 (Fast)



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From the Chateau car park pick your way across the hotel grounds to the Lower Taranaki Falls Track and turn left. This well-made, gravelled trail drops in and out of a couple of side streams before reaching a junction at a bridge, around 1.6k in. Turn right towards Taranaki Falls.
The next section is about 1.5k of beautiful beech forest alongside a rumbling stream before breaking out just short of the spectacular Taranaki Falls. After drinking in the views and grabbing photos climb the steps that take you further uphill to join Tama Lakes Track. Bear left and follow this as it climbs steadily and then drops to another junction where you head left following signs to Upper Tama Lake. A little short of 2 kms a short, sharp climb later, you hit the ridge above this spectacular lake, nestled under Mt. Ngauruhoe.
After taking in the spectacular vista head back the way you came, turning right at the first junction and left at the second junction (where you joined the trail from Taranaki Falls on the way up.)
It's now a cruise 5kms of downhill to come out on Ngauruhoe Place behind the Chateau. A short way down the road on your right is the start of the Lower Taranaki Falls Track (signposted towards Mangatepopo.) Take this and turn left very soon afterwards to return to the Chateau car park.

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Features of interest

The stunning Taranaki Falls and the exquisite Tama Lakes are the jewels of this run on the flanks of the North Island's highest mountain - so much to see in such a sort distance.

Make Up of Run

Moderate Single Track: 10%

Easy Single Track: 90%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each

RTM - East & North

RTM - East & North

Length: 45.00km

Tongariro Northern Circuit

Tongariro Northern Circuit

Length: 44.50km

Tongariro Switcheroo

Tongariro Switcheroo

Length: 32.00km

Taranaki Falls Beauty

Taranaki Falls Beauty

Length: 6.30km


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    The main car park in front of The Chateau Tongariro hotel.

    Plenty of safe parking to be had.

    15 km

    12 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .

    Well signposted so shouldn't present any difficulties

    Generally good.

    Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Map, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions).

    The only drinkable water on the trail is from the stream below Taranaki Falls but as this is so early in the run it'd be advisable to take your own supplies.

    Above Taranaki Falls, and especially at Tama Lakes, is very exposed so be prepared for any weather. In winter the trail can be icy so take micro-spikes or similar.

    Exposure to the elements is the main risk. Go prepared and you shouldn't have any issues

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