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Round The Mountain Track

Tongariro National Park

Ruapehu Round the Mountain Track

Duration
4-6 Days
A normal itinerary is five days. A four day itinerary involves one tough 'double-day'.

Walking Season
November - May
Winter hiking is possible. The track isn't permanently snowbound during winter, but the likelihood of heavy snowfall, severe weather, and white out conditions, make this a summer only track for most hikers.

Tripwise New Zealand provides content for the sake of travel planning. It is not a wilderness guide. Consult DOC and MSC for safety information before heading into the hills.

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Whakapapa

Ohakune

National Park

Waihohonu Hut

Rangipo Hut

Mangaehuehu Hut

Mangaturuturu Hut

Blyth Hut

Old Waihohonu Hut (Historic)

Whakapapaiti Hut

Mangahuia Campsite

Ruapehu Round The Mountain Track Map Control

Whakapapa - Waihohonu Hut

Waihohonu Hut - Rangipo Hut

Rangipo Hut - Mangaehuehu Hut

Mangaehuehu Hut - Mangaturuturu Hut

Mangaturuturu Hut - Whakapapa

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Ruapehu Round The Mountain Track Description

The Round the Mountain Track circumnavigates Mt Ruapehu, the North Island's tallest peak. A tough undertaking across rugged terrain. The landscape is volcanic, corse, and rock strewn. The track crosses sterilized desert, deep cut river valleys, tussock fields, and beech forest.

The track more or less sticks to a steady altitude around the flanks of the mountain. It's not an alpine route and during summer there is no likelihood of snow effecting the track.

Volcanic Hazards

One of the track's attractions is the fact that Mt Ruapehu happens to be an active volcano. There's an element of excitement and danger associated with hiking on a volcano. There's nothing to be paranoid about, but a tiny risk exists, and we mention it because if you're a nervous person, realize that the risk feels a bit more significant when you're actually there on the mountain.

The main volcanic hazard for hikers on the Round the Mountain Track are lahar paths. Check out DOC's website 'Volcanic risk in Tongariro National Park'.

Track Accommodation

There are six huts along the track. If tenting is your thing, camping is permitted at all of the huts.

Because it is also part of the 'Northern Circuit', Waihohonu Hut (and campsite) must be pre booked during the 'great walk' season, October through April. You can do so online or in person at any DOC Visitor Centre. Note that Waihohonu Hut is likely to book out during peak summer hiking season.

Waihohonu Hut 28 bunks - $32
Waihohonu Campsite - $14

Other huts on the track are classified 'serviced huts' paid for on arrival with hut tickets. No booking, they operate on a first in basis.
$15 per adult ($5 for campers).

Rangipo Hut (20 bunks)
Mangaehuehu Hut (18 bunks)
Blyth Hut (20 bunks)
Mangaturuturu Hut (10 bunks)
Whakapapaiti Hut (18 bunks)

Logistics

The track has two potential start points, Ohakune Mountain Road and Whakapapa village (plus access tracks leading out to State Highway 1).

If starting from Ohakune, you'll need to arrange transport to the track, which is about 15-18 kilometers from Ohakune, on Ohakune Mountain Road. Arrange transport the day before at the Ruapehu (Ohakune) i-SITE information centre. There is no scheduled service. For advanced planning, web the following companies; Matai Shuttles, Dempseys Transport.

Whakapapa is logistically the easier place to start the track. The track starts from the centre of the village. For public transport warriors, Naked Bus connects Whakapapa to Ohakune and Taupo daily. For drivers, there's free overnight car parking at Whakapapa (but no overnight freedom camping in the public car park - there's a commercial campground about twenty metres away).

Supplies

There's a small supermarket in Ohakune. Whakapapa offers nothing in the way of shopping or groceries. Whakapapa starters should stock up before leaving a major centre.

In Person Advice

DOC's Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre is located at Whakapapa village. There's also a DOC visitor centre at Ohakune.

Topographical Maps

LINZ Topo50 (1:50,000 scale) maps are the best topographical maps available.

You can download maps for free and print them yourself. If you'd prefer to purchase hard copies, the national chain stores 'Hunting & Fishing' and 'Bivouac Outdoor' carry the best stock (Bivouac offer international shipping from their online store). Topographical maps may be available for sale at the DOC visitor centers, but don't bank on it.

The maps required for the Round the Mountain Track are; BJ34 - Mount Ruapehu, BJ35 - Waiouru