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  4. How to choose the best Taupo track for you | Part 2

How to choose the best Taupo track for you | Part 2

In the Tongariro National Park alone, there are over 220 kilometers of trails.

While the UNESCO World Heritage site is a huge draw to the region, there’s also hundreds of kilometers of other amazing tracks across the Kaimanawa Forest Park, Pureora Forest Park, Tongariro River Trail, Huka Trails and heaps of other tracks.

One day you scale to the top of Mt Urchin which is so close to the Tongariro's peaks that you could touch it. The next afternoon you breeze along the Rangatira Point Track, ending with a refreshing lake swim at Whakamoenga Point rocks.

The list goes on – but with this infinite choice of extraordinary adventures, choosing the right walk for you can be overwhelming. Am I fit enough? Is the track too advanced for my skills? How will I know what to expect? What’s the weather doing?

Is it worthwhile? You want to guarantee that this walk is worth your time – and your legs.

Using the NZ Mountain Safety Council’s new Plan My Walk app is proven to guide you through answering these questions. The app is full of features to help you solve the track inspiration block (especially in a region like Taupo where they is hundreds of options) and ensure you're safe, prepared, and ready for your Taupo walk, big or small, with these easy planning steps.

So, before you grab your boots and your pack, open up the Plan My Walk app to guarantee your next hiking trip to the Taupo region is a memorable and safe one!

1. Choosing the right track for you and your group

We've done those Google searches – best walks in Taupo, easy walks in Taupo, long hikes, etc.

But with the Plan My Walk app, finding that key track inspiration can be within three clicks so you can hit the trails faster!

They are plenty of options for the Taupo adventurer.

If you're heading to the Tongariro National Park, search through the endless options of hikes ranging from multi-day trips. Highlights include the Round the Mountain Track or shorter scenic 2-hour walks like the Taranaki Falls Walk.

Short on time and want an easy walk closer to town? Huka Falls to Aratiatia Dam Trail is one of the most scenic and popular tracks for locals and visitors alike, right alongside the Waikato's clear waters.

2) Prepare for the unexpected, no matter the length of trip

You've finally found the perfect walk for you. What next?

For advanced hikers, the summit to Mt Urchin is a noteworthy 4-hour hike in Kaimanawa Forest Park. A steady 2-hour climb through ancient forest inclines gets your heart pumping, especially when you’re at the top and rewarded with panoramic views of the Tongariro and Mount Ruapehu peaks.

Plan My Walk guides you through track alerts, the weather forecast, and a suggested gear list for your pre-departure checklist. Knowing the forecast ahead of time helps you bring the proper clothing or if helps you choose a walk closer to Turangi like the Tongariro River Trail or the Oruatua Walk. And remember to always tell someone where you’re going.

3) Make a Plan

Organizing a group of mates for a multi-day hike in Pureora Forest Park like the Waihaha Hut Track or just want an easy morning walk before you visit Huka Falls like the Huka Trails?

The Plan section allows you to record everything you and your group need to know such as getting to the track, daily schedule, and who the emergency contact is.

There are many factors to consider, including the below:

  • How long will it take you? Ensure you leave yourself enough time. You need to think about how much daylight you have to walk in. You don’t want to get caught walking in the dark if you weren’t expecting to. You also need to consider the timing of public transport or a pick-up at the other end.
  • How will you get there? Don’t forget to factor travel time into your trip planning, especially if you’re planning a long walk, or you’re going in winter when there is less daylight.
  • What does each person want to get out of the trip? Walking up a steep rough track is a great challenge for some – but it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Make sure you all have the same expectations and plan a trip that suits everyone.
  • Does everyone have what they need? Make sure you have the appropriate clothing and equipment for the track, terrain and weather. And don’t forget, four seasons in one day is really a thing when you’re in alpine territory.

Making sure everyone is on the same page, and that your hike, and aprés hike plans, go smoothly.

3) Ask yourself – is today the day? 

Boots in the boot and you're ready to go, but it’s okay to change your mind.  

Check the weather again (using the weather alerts/notifications in Plan My Walk) and decide with your group on the day. You might have got there too late to do full day's walk or simply aren’t feeling up to it.  

A huge benefit to the Taupo region is that there are dozens of hikes in each area surrounding the lake.  

If the weather isn't great for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, maybe views of Taupo town and Lake Taupo on top of Mount Tauhara or the covered forest walk of Lake Rotopounamu Track can be an amazing Plan B to explore. A bonus is there are even more options for rainy day weather if today isn't the day for hiking outdoors.

4) Enjoy your trip and leave a review!

Once you’re back and have helped others know what to expect, send photos and a track review on the Plan My Walk page.

This section is great for getting real advice on current track conditions, what others encountered and how fellow trampers found the track condition and difficulty. This information is invaluable when it comes to planning a trip, as word of mouth is sometimes the best information.

Had done a bit of research on blogs and vlogs and was expecting a muddy and vertical... but was pleasantly surprised by majority dry track, with not many roots.. starting out with a nice moderate climb up the spur, that flattens out on the ridge, before another short mod climb out on the top to the trig. Today the sky was clear and nice weak winter sun.. some of the best views I think I've ever seen of the region.”  

- Will on Mt Urchin Track 


So, if you’re looking for a tramp, walk, hike to best spend your time in the Taupo region, there is literally something for everyone! It’s just up to you and your group, with the help of Plan My Walk, to find a match and make some memories!

Download the app, Plan My Walk, from your preferred app store, or check it out online.

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  4. How to choose the best Taupo track for you | Part 2