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November 2017 Issue
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A trail less travelled in Tongariro

The Whakapapanui Stream provides a perfect backdrop for those walking the stream-side track. Photo: Zhi Yuen Yap
This entry is part 1 of 18 in the series Ranger Secrets

Whakapapanui Track, Tongariro National Park

Ranger: Stacey Faire, Ohakune

Starting at Whakapapa Village, ranger Stacey Faire says the Whakapapanui Track is a fantastic less-travelled walk in the busy Tongariro National Park.

The 6km return track runs through thick mountain beech forest and follows the Whakapapanui Stream, which has whio/blue duck.

“If you can’t see the river you can hear it,” Faire says. “There is a wonderful sense of life and movement when you hear the roar of the river – it renews your energy.”

Because of the thick forest canopy, it’s a good all-weather track, Faire adds. “A lot of people walk the Taranaki Falls loop track, but I think this track is even better.

“Every time I visit, the bush catches my breath. I enjoy seeing native mistletoe in bloom and the contrast between the beech forest and the smaller alpine vegetation around the boardwalk.”

Faire says walking the trail at dusk is a great way to awaken the senses: “You see the light changing and cascading through the forest – it’s quite beautiful.”

The track starts about 250m from Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre and takes about two hours return. Take care not to confuse the Whakapapanui and Whakapapaiti track signs. The walk can be extended by including the Silica Rapids walk – a 7km return track

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