Tongariro lake lure follows falls
Taranaki Falls is a wonderful destination in Tongariro National Park and easy to reach on a loop track. But by challenging yourself to walk past the falls you can reach another must-see — the beautiful Tama Lakes. From Whakapapa Village start on the Taranaki Falls track, 100m below the visitor centre on Ngauruhoe Place. Beyond the falls the track crosses undulating tussock country and alpine herb fields on a wellformed and marked track. Further on, the track branches to the left to Tama Lakes while the main track continues on to Waihohonu Hut. From this junction, you have a view of the lower lake (1240m) with a surrounding backdrop of Mount Ngauruhoe to the north and behind you Mt Ruapehu. Some of the oldest lava flows on the slopes of Ruapehu and Tongariro can be found at the Tama Saddle. Tama Lakes occupy six explosion craters, created about 10,000 years ago during an eruption period. The track climbs steeply to a viewpoint of the upper lake (1440m). From here the track is made of loose and uneven rock. You can loop past the upper lake down an informal but well-padded track back to the main track. There are no formed tracks down to the lakes. The descent to both is via steep, unstable gullies. To ensure these pristine alpine lakes are kept free of weeds, do not touch or swim in the water. The Tama Lakes track requires much less uphill walking and exposure to alpine conditions than the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, and is a great alternative during poor weather. The lakes are visited frequently by the Wanganui Tramping Club and they never fail to impress. The club’s weekend programme for December is: ● 4 or 5, Sat or Sun, Turoa ski field exploration, leader Esther ● 11-12, Sat-Sun, Taumarunui weekend, leader Dave ● 11 or 12, Sat or Sun, Castle Rock, leader John ● 18 or 19, Sat or Sun, Tunupo peak, leaders Sally and Trish Make all inquiries about trips to Barbara, phone 348 9149, or Dorothy, phone 345 7039. The midweekers have a full programme of interesting trips every Wednesday. Those who get out on Thursday are in two groups, with a longer walk on December 9 for the TT1 group and shorter ones for the TT2 group on December 2 and 16. The Wednesday contact is Victoria, phone 027 6888 190, and the Thursday contact is Anne, phone 345 4776. Call both by 6pm the night before for day trips. To join weekend trips call the leader by the previous Tuesday at the latest. Call by the night before for day trips. Because some trips have limited numbers, leaders have the final say about who to take as they are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of everyone on their trips. For further information contact Barbara at 348 9149 or go to our website. The next club meeting is on December 7, at 6pm at Whanganui Racecourse.