Mangatepopo Track – Tongariro National Park

If there’s one thing we like to pride ourselves on here at The Hiking Society it’s the fact that we like blogging about hikes that aren’t typically well-known.

Regardless if they are in a popular area for hiking such as the Tongariro National Park, or somewhere not so popular, we love sharing some of the not-so-well-known hikes with you to ensure we can make it easier for you to access the outdoors.

One such hiking trail in New Zealand that fits that description is the Mangatepopo Track.

While many experienced hikers might not exactly be rushing to New Zealand to do this hike, I think it’s certainly worth doing if you’re in the area.

Suitable as a one-day return hike or an overnight hike, the scenery on offer in this section of the Tongariro National Park is simply stunning.

tongariro national park

Similar to many hikes in the area, the Mangatepopo Track starts at the Skotel Alpine Resort in the Whakapapa Village.

The entire park is well-signed so you won’t have any issues following the trail as it veers off heading north from another popular hike in the area – the Taranaki Falls Walk.

Approximately 7.5 kilometres one way, the trail can be heavily eroded in some places where you’ll be required to head down and up some steep paths across many stream beds.

Once you’ve wandered through the initial forest section of the walk, the rest of the way is completely open as you make your way across a tussock plain to Mangatepopo Hut.

As previously mentioned, the scenery on offer during this hike is absolutely exceptional. As you head towards the hut, and assuming you’ve got a relatively clear day, you’ll be treated to views of Mount Tongariro & Mount Ngauruhoe – both situated on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

If you are heading in the opposite direction towards the Whakapapa Village, you’ll get expansive views of Mount Ruapehu off in the distance.

If you are choosing to hike this as an overnight adventure, you’ll be able to stay in the 20-bunk Mangatepopo Hut.

If you know anything about the outdoors in New Zealand, you’ll know that their backcountry hut system is unlike anything else around the world.

They really take pride in what many of their huts can offer and thus maintain them to a high standard.

If you are planning on hiking the Mangatepopo Track during the Great Walks season (October to April), you will need to book online via the DOC website.

However, if you hiking out of season (May to October), it is very much a first come; first served arrangement.

Either way, if you do happen to miss out on a bunk bed, you can always pitch a tent outside the hut as there are plenty of places to do so (remember to pack your tent regardless of your plans!)

During the Great Walks season, there will typically be a park ranger on duty to assist you with any weather or hiking advice you might need help with.

This service is especially helpful as they’ll be able to advise whether it’s safe to be out hiking in the area or not based on the current weather forecast.

Furthermore, this is especially helpful if you plan on hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing or the Tongariro Northern Circuit; which the Mangatepopo Track comprises the first section of the latter.

Overall, whilst not the most popular hike in the Tongariro National Park, the Mangatepopo Track is certainly worth doing if you’re looking for something a little different in the area as a day or overnight hike.

If you are planning on doing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing or Tongariro Northern Circuit at some point, it will give you a glimpse of what is to come.

Have a read of our adventure guide in the Tongariro National Park to discover more walks such as this.

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