Tama Lakes

Tongariro National Park

The Tama Lakes track forms part of the Tongariro Northern Circuit Great Walk and is a great alternative to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

Highlights include waterfalls, tussock and alpine shrub, beech forest, impressive lakes and fantastic views of Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngauruhoe.

The Tama Lakes walk is graded easy and will take you 5 - 6 hours return.

The track begins 100 metres below Whakapapa Visitor Centre, Whakapapa Village at Ngauruhoe Place. The track is an extension of the Taranaki Falls Walk.

After leaving the Taranaki Falls Walk, the track crosses undulating tussock country and alpine herbfields. Further on, the track branches to the left to Tama Lakes, while the main track continues on to Waihohonu Hut. There is a view of the lower lake (1240 metres), then the track climbs steeply to a viewpoint (1440 metres) of the upper lake.

Tama Lakes occupy several old explosion craters on the Tama Saddle between Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. There are no formed tracks down to the lakes, the descent to both is via steep gullies.

Tama Saddle acts as a funnel for prevailing westerly winds and windproof clothing is recommended.

Find out everything you need to plan for this track and others in Tongariro National Park on Plan My Walk

Distance 17km
Time 5 - 6 hours
Physical rating Moderate
Direction Return via same track
Dog access No dogs

Know before you go

Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.

Before starting out, hikers should check the weather forecast and track conditions - Tongariro National Park weather is extremely changeable year round. Check with the Taupo or Turangi visitor information centres before you go.

Be prepared for cold, wet or windy weather at all times. Heavy rain causes increased water flows in all streams and rivers in the park and they may not be safe to cross.

Giardia may be present in some streams in the park. We recommend you treat all water before you drink it.

What to take

  • Water
  • Wind-proof clothing (jacket and over trousers)
  • Warm layers (wool or polypropylene)
  • Sturdy comfortable shoes or boots
  • Food and plenty to drink
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • First aid kit

Opening times

Business hours
Open every day. Free entry
+64 7 892 3729
Physical address:
100m below Whakapapa Visitor Centre, Ngauruhoe Place
Whakapapa Village
Tongariro National Park
New Zealand
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