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Tama Lakes via Waihohonu Hut, Tongariro National Park

View over Upper Tama Lake to Mt Ruapehu. Photo: Matthew Pike
Area
Tongariro National Park
Distance
27.5km
Time
8-9hr
Grade
Moderate
Accom.
Waihohonu Hut (28 bunks)
Access
Car park 100m west of Desert Road (SH1)^ juts south of Rangipo Intake Rd
Map
BH34, BH35, BJ34, BJ35
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Tama Lakes via Waihohonu (gpx, yo 23 KB)
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From Waihohonu Hut you can see both Mts Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. It’s a stunning view of two of the North Island’s iconic summits. But the view also encompasses a series of smaller, more manageable ranges, over which an enjoyable loop walk can be made.

These smaller ranges are perfect for those spending the night at Waihohonu without wanting anything too strenuous. This is desert-like country so nothing blocks your view of this striking landscape.

From the Desert Road, an easy track leads to Waihohonu Hut where you can secure a bunk and dump most of your gear to carry on with a lighter load.

From the hut, the first place of interest is Old Waihohonu Hut – a little red shack built in 1904. It’s New Zealand’s oldest recreational hut containing separate rooms for men and women.

Continue along the track to the Tama Lakes. As you near Lower Tama, veer right, off the track, and follow the ridge above the eastern side of the lake.

Continue to Pt1450 and then head north-east, dropping above the southern shore of Upper Tama and along the narrow ridge to Pt1562.

From Pt1562 there’s only a small dip between you and the slopes of Ngauruhoe. It looks imposing up close; a magnificent spectacle.

Follow the ridge to Tama, at 1623m the highest point on the walk, before carefully sliding down the scree to the ridgeline heading south-east towards the Waihohonu-Oturere Track.

It’s an easy descent through numerous boulder fields with the Kaimanawa mountains ahead in the distance.

At the track, turn right to get back to Waihohonu Hut.