Free Things to do in Taupo: Hike Mt Tauhara

Tongariro and Lake Taupo from Tauhara. Now that is a lot of Ts.

Tongariro and Lake Taupo from Tauhara. Now that is a lot of Ts.

Hiking up Mt Tauhara was a beautiful mistake. See that mountain across the lake in the photo above? That is the mountain we should have hiked. Mt Tongariro’s Tongariro Crossing is an absolute New Zealand must-do. But because we were mislead by our Kiwi Experience bus driver that we had to pay $160 to do the crossing, we climbed another mountain. Walking up Mt Tauhara is quite an adventurous walk that I will never forget.

An 11 minute drive out of Taupo down the State Highway 5 takes you to Mountain Road, which leads to the start of the Mt Tauhara walk. Get to the walk by car, bike or taxi. Another mistake I made that day was walking from town to the base of the walk. This was a long and boring trek next to the road, which lasted a good hour and a half.

That start of the Mt Tauhara walk

That start of the Mt Tauhara walk

A rarity is that this walk is not part of the Department of Conservation, so do not expect the same maintained walking tracks that DoC walks tend to have. That said, the lack of maintenance on the trail created a variety of terrain, which has you scrambling over tree roots, over rogue rocks, along a stream, and along tracks with close proximity to sheer drops… all of this makes the trail challenging but rather exciting.

Ok, so this part of the track wasn't challenging but the green mossy trees were pleasing to the eye.

Ok, so this part of the track wasn’t challenging but the green mossy trees were pleasing to the eye.

It's a tight squeeze through this narrow path!

It’s a tight squeeze through this narrow path! Do you like my high-tech hiking gear by the way?

If you feel like you are going to die on the way up the mountain, just remember that coming back down is so much more fun. I practically ran while jumping over the obstacles on the way down.

Before all that fun stuff, you get to see Taupo, Lake Taupo – the largest lake in New Zealand, and Mt Tongariro a.k.a Mt Doom, from the summit of Mt Tauhara.

Clear weather is always a bonus.

Clear weather is always a bonus.

It's a long and foresty way down

It’s a long and foresty way down

Watching the sunset as we finally emerged back at the base of the mountain gave us more beauty to behold!*

Accept the beauty that is front of you.

Accept the beauty that is front of you.

Sunset and Tongariro

Sunset and Tongariro

Over the fields and far away.

Over the fields and far away.

Verdict

Be prepared for a scramble, to be short of breath, and to be wowed by the scenery once you get to the summit. The view is extra special because the trees are so dense on the way up the mountain that the view is kept a secret until the finale. Ok, so it wasn’t the Tongariro Crossing, nevertheless, the Mt Tauhara walk is the top day walk I have done in New Zealand so far!

*I apologise for all my cringey phrases but I am quite the cringey person.

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