Lake Surprise Out-and-Back
ElevationAscent: 1,755' 535 m
Descent: -1,756' -535 m
High: 5,036' 1,535 m
Low: 4,023' 1,226 m
GradeAvg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 40% (22°)
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“Enjoy Middle Earth away from the tourist-industrial complex.”— Matthew Kidd
The trail is well marked with orange triangular markers as is typical for New Zealand trails but many parts of it are challenging and some stretches are less of a formal trail and more of a route to follow. Navigating the area near the base of the cascades involves some scrambling over rocks.
The trailhead is on Ohakune Mountain Rd. about 1.1 km before the base of the ski resort. There is a parking area and a trail sign labeled "Round the Mountain" but you can easily miss it because the trail immediately descends below the level of the road to the first river crossing. It then rises to just over 5000 feet affording the first view of Lake Surprise and excellent views of Mt. Ruapeha.
It the drops steeply into Mangaturuturu Valley beside a beautiful cascade flowing over smooth bedrock. After climbing out of the Mangaturuturu Valley, the trail continues over wooden planking crossing a seasonal wetlands before reaching the Mangaturuturu Hut (which can be booked for overnight use). Shortly beyond the hut, cross a large stream that can at times be managed without getting your boots wet but which may need to be traversed barefoot or with river shoes. Climb steadily up from the river valley to regain half the descent, continuing over more wooden planking. As you climb steeper trail sections, parts of which are a scramble up streambeds that may have minor flow, you'll arrive at Lake Surprise, a broad, shallow lake set amongst beech forest and tussock.
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We need help with the following missing trail information:
Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes, History & Background
Land Manager: Department of Conservation - Tongariro National Park