Access To The Track
Lake Surprise lies between Mangaturuturu Hut and Whakapapaiti Hut on the Round The Mountain circuit in the Tongariro National Park. This report details the tramp by starting at Horopito on State Highway 4 and finishing at Whakapapa Village off State Highway 47.
Other options include starting at the end of Mountain Road from Ohakune to arrive at Mangaturuturu Hut. Also tramping out to Mangahuia Campsite on Highway 47 from Whakapapaiti Hut is another option.
There are various companies providing shuttle services in Whakapapa Village. The easiest option is to leave your vehicle at the Village, take a shuttle to the start of the track (Horopito start is closer and should be the cheaper option too) and tramp back to Whakapapa Village.
If accessing the track at Horopito, a permit must first be obtained from the DOC visitor centre at Whakapapa. This opermit allows vehicles to cross private land to access the start of the track.
Horopito Road End to Mangaturuturu Hut
Time: 4 hours
Distance: 8 kms
Moderate: A long, slow climb across boggy terrain
Access to the start of the track is across private land. A permit is required.
A 4 wheel drive vehicle would be able access the start of the track. If a shuttle is used it will only be able to get you as far as the start of DOC owned land. This point is indicated by a fork in the road, the right fork blocked by a gate with a sign stating 'Private Land'. The left fork leads to the official start of the track, some 30 minutes on by foot from the fork.
20 minutes from the track start, a deserted settlement is reached, where old bits and pieces can still be found, such as a rusted bucket and a pair of old boots.
The track then enters some boggy terrain, which can be quite hard going. The track leads upwards towards Mount Ruapehu, glimpses of which can be seen ahead.
After about an hour the boggy terrain comes to an end and the track leads into a forest. The track leads upwards along a gentle ridge in the forest.
Approximately an hour away from the hut, the track leads down off the ridge to the Mangaturuturu River below. This river runs through a beautiful valley, with spectacular views of waterfalls falling from Mount Ruapehu above. The hut is reached 30 minutes after crossing the river.
From the hut, a track leads away eastwards to the Mountain Road end. The Round The Mountain track continues westward. Just 5 minutes from the hut, the track breaks out into a beautiful open valley with stunning cliffs on the far side. A good spot to visit after a hard day tramping.
The hut is set in a beautiful location with a view straight up to the mountain summit!