Last Updated: 22nd Apr 2024


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Taranaki Falls & Tama Lakes

Lower Taranaki Falls Track, Tama Lakes Track

National Park, Manawatu - Wanganui

Submitted by Mal Law

Last Updated: 22nd Apr 2024


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Grunt Factor: 22 ?

Gnarl Factor: 18 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush


Open tussock/grasslands


Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +6.9%

Average Downhill Gradient: -6.3%


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Estimated Times to Run







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.

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.

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

Plenty of safe parking to be had.

15 km

12 minutes




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

Trail Legend


Jeffrey Smith

has completed Taranaki Falls & Tama Lakes twice in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Fantastic terrain, A+ scenery.
Went and explored up higher on the next ridge that heads towards Ngauruhoe from the end of the main upper lake view point, descent steep scree climb but worth that effort.
Also to mix it up for different views rather then heading back where you came you can easily circumnavigate the lower lake, great ridge running to be had and just keep going until you hit the main track a couple K past the turn off you take earlier in the run

Bradley Houghton

January 7, 2022

Did it with kids (13 and 10) this morning. Without Taranaki falls though as we did these before, 17km in total. Stunning scenery, made it up to see Upper Tama lake too. Moving (walking) time 3.5hrs plus one hour of stopping for photos and snacks. Just stunning!

Petra Hnykova

October 9, 2020

Awesome run with magnificent scenery especially this morning with a cloudless sunrise very runnable. The lakes are more impressive than photos show so get up there and have a look

Shaun Hawira

February 11, 2020

This run in my back yard is a relatively easy and runnable trail. The final climb up to Upper Tama is a gut buster but enjoy the downhill, wheeee!

Orla Drylie

January 26, 2020

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