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Tongariro River Trail

Riders cross a bridge on the Tongariro River Trail near Turangi. Photo: DGLT

The Tongariro River Trail is a relaxing 15km loop trail that follows the banks of the beautiful Tongariro River near Turangi. As you ride along the lightly undulating Grade 2 trail, you will travel through pockets of native New Zealand forest, as well as mature beech, manuka and fern groves. This 1-2 hour ride offers a variety of scenic rest stops along the way and is the perfect day out for the whole family or those keen to explore the river.

The Tongariro River Trail provides an excellent introduction to mountain biking, with almost flat, slightly undulating terrain ensuring it is also kind to those with a low-level of fitness. Popular with young families and beginner riders, the trail is brimming with scenic value and can be ridden in all weather conditions. There are also numerous picnic and swimming spots to cool off in the river during the hot summer months.

Watch: Tongariro River Trail with Sarah Ulmer

Tongariro River enjoys a rich angling history and has even been fished by notable British royalty on several occasions. The river is known as one of the most beautiful trout-fishing destinations in the world. Even if you're not dangling a fly or lure, you'll appreciate this river's bountiful natural aesthetics. You will also find the Tongariro National Trout Centre en route, where you can view trout, river vegetation and fauna from an underwater observatory.

Between the pockets of native forest, riders will enjoy views of the Tongariro National Park, with three large peaks in the distance: Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu – keep an eye out for a rare puff of steam from one of these active volcanoes. Shuttles operate from Turangi and Taupo and can drop/collect you at many points along the trail. The whole family will get a buzz out of riding this relaxed river trail.

Gallery: Tongariro River Trail

Insider Tips

  • Allow some extra time to enjoy the Tongariro National Trout Centre, which is part way along the trail. Here you can view the New Zealand trout that inhabit the Tongariro River.
  • For the nature lover, you can view the endangered native Blue Duck (Whio) at the purpose-built hardening facility.
  • Rejuvenate your muscles with a thermal spring swim at the nearby Tokaanu Hot Pools.

Getting There 

The Tongariro River Trail is best accessed from Turangi. Turangi is a 45-minute drive from Taupo. Taupo is a three-and-a-half hour drive from Auckland Airport (264km) and an hour drive from Rotorua (81km). Taupo is a two-hour drive from Hamilton (153km). The trailhead starts on the banks of the Tongariro River, which runs past the Turangi township on the SH1. There are several different parking options, at the end of Koura Street and also parks available at the National Trout Centre.

Tell Me More

To further explore these regions try Visit Ruapehu and Destination Great Lake Taupo.

The Tongariro River Trail is maintained by the Department of Conservation. We recommend visiting the DOC website for information on their services and tracks in New Zealand.

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