Things to Do in Taumarunui


Taumarunui’s central location offers visitors many exciting attractions of the Tongariro and Whanganui National Parks including the ‘Twin Rivers’, majestic mountain peaks, forest parks, sights and spectacular scenery.

Advice and information on all activities in and around Taumarunui and National Park are available at our Reception. Please ask us here at Taumarunui Holiday Park for more information and suggestions of how to get the most out of your stay in the King Country.

Forgotten World Highway

One of the AA’s “101 Must do’s for Kiwis” The Forgotten World Highway – State Highway 43 – is a heritage trail exploring one of New Zealand’s most secluded roads between Taumarunui and Stratford.

The highway winds its way over four mountain saddles, and past 20 odd highlights such as the 180 metre one-way Moki tunnel, spectacular Tangarakau Gorge, Mount Damper Falls and the tiny settlement of Whangamomona, a small village declared a ‘republic’ by its residents back in 1988.

This back-country township celebrates its independence every second January when around 6,000 people flock to the village to participate in some sheep racing, gumboot throwing, whip cracking and possum skinning! This celebration is a local favourite.

Note: The Forgotten World Highway is 150 kilometres long, there are no petrol stations along the way, so be sure to fill up your tank before you set out.

The Raurimu Spiral

The village of Raurimu is named after the world famous railway spiral, an engineering masterpiece that made access up the steep inclines of the volcanic plateau possible and can be found 50kms South of Taumarunui.

Completed in 1908, the spiral enabled the Main Trunk Railway to be completed thereby opening up the central north island to valuable trading and employment opportunities.

The dense native forest and steep climb up to the volcanic plateau presented major challenges that were overcome with the ingenuous construction of the spiral consisting of a complete circle, three horseshoe curves and two short tunnels.

Short trips through the spiral can be arranged between Taumarunui and National Park Village. You can ride the Raurimu Spiral either on scheduled services or on regular vintage steam train excursions or see the three levels of the Raurimu Spiral from the viewing platform on State Highway 4.

The Bridge to Nowhere

The ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ is the unofficial flagship of Whanganui National Park, an iconic symbol for New Zealand adventure tourism and a major visitor destination on the Whanganui Journey.

The bridge was left to the ravages of nature when the Mangaparua farming settlement was abandoned in the early 1900s.

There are two ways to access the bridge site, either by a Trilling 40 minute Jet Boat/ canoe from the Mangapurua Landing on the Whanganui River, or by a two day tramp from Whakahoro Hut to the north via the Kaiwhakauka and Mangapurua Valleys.

Arrangements with a river jet can be made for the return trip to Whakahoro or to transfer to the Matemateaonga Walkway.

The Tongariro Crossing

Described as one of the best one-day treks in New Zealand. From alpine meadow to mountain summit with stunning volcanic features along the way. You will walk across a lunar landscape of craters, scattered pumice, active volcanoes, mountain springs, lava flows, emerald lakes, piles of scoria and statue-like mounds of volcanic rock – all testaments to the forces that were unleashed to create this volcanic desert. It will takes about 8-9hours to allow time for photos and any sidetracks, lunch and breaks.

This is best done from National Park Village where you can monitor the weather and enjoy other mountain activities if waiting for the perfect day. For the fit, you have a chance to summit Mt Ngauruhoe or Mt Tongariro. Your host will arrange a shuttle to and from the track. It is not secure to leave cars at the track ends. Always be prepared for a change in the weather by taking clothing for all conditions. The walking season is usually from November to May but if you want to do the crossing in winter be prepared with a guide, crampons and an ice axe.

Bushline Quads

With Bushline Quads you can experience pure adrenaline pumping fun! Bushline Quads specialise in 4×4 quad rides with a real wilderness adventure into the Tongariro Forest Park. Rivers, streams, awesome scenery, clean mountain air with great photo opportunities all in one stunning area.

One, two and three hour tours from just $60. Refreshments are provided. No licence or experience necessary. Gloves and helmets are provided. Wet weather gear is available for hire.

Para St, Taumaranui.
Phone: +64 7 895 9489
Fax :+64 7 895 9488

Whanganui River – Canoe, Kayak, Jet Boat, Boating

The Whanganui National Park is the gorgeous backdrop for the Whanganui River to flow through. This river is the longest continuous navigable river in New Zealand. Its gentle gradient and 234 kilometres stretch provides individuals and groups a wonderful scenic canoeing or boating experience on the most canoed river in this country.

Taumarunui, being the only town at the beginning of this long, recreational boating waterway, provides an ideal base for those preparing to take one of the several canoe trip options available.

This river is also ideal for jet boats. Tour operators offer visitors a choice of trips down the river.

Blazing Paddles Canoe Adventures

Have an unforgettable experience as you share the Whanganui River experience through the Whanganui National Park.

Blazing Paddles pride themselves on attention to detail and offer refinements that no other Whanganui River canoe operator provides, all at a very competitive price. They have only one objective – to make sure all of their clients have the best possible time while in their care.

Snow Skiing – Whakapapa and Ruapehu Ski Fields

In just 35 minutes from you can drive from Taumarunui Holiday Park and find yourself on the chairlifts of New Zealand’s largest and most developed Ski field – Whakapapa and Turoa on the slopes of magnificent Mt Ruapehu.

Experience Mt Ruapehu and ski with world-class facilities catering for all levels from the beginner to the advanced or the more extreme adventurer! Nowhere else in New Zealand can you ski on an active volcano!

The ski season usually runs from late June to mid November, sometimes lasting until December.

Scenic chairlift rides operate on Whakapapa throughout most of the year offering unsurpassed and spectacular views over the central North Island.

Trout Fishing

Ruapehu and surrounding areas boast world class wilderness fishing. Offering angling of all types, from trophy-lake fishing to the ever challenging wilderness backcountry head waters, Taumarunui has it all.

Whakapapa River is the largest tributary of the Whanganui River and one of ‘New Zealand’s finest trout fisheries. The Whakapapa flows through native forest alternating between turbulent rapids, deep pools and long boulder runs. There are a few easy places to cross and some caution is required.

The middle reaches around Owhango fish well, access through Owhango reserve is good from Owhango up river there is considerable private land. It is advisable to seek access permission from the landowners. Or use a reputable guide who has legal access. Licenses can be purchased locally and at The Department of Conservation Offices.


The adoption of the Scottish word ‘Tarrangower’ gives Taumarunui’s Tarrangower Golf Club a link to where the game first started.

Those who visit to play on this scenic 18-hole course seem to find themselves returning again to enjoy the serene beauty of this course. Its reputation has given this golf course the recognition of being amongst the finest in New Zealand.

Hot Pools and Swimming

Taumarunui has a covered heated swimming pool located adjacent to Taumarunui’s 18-hole golf course. This 25 metre six lane swimming pool provides an oasis of refreshing enjoyment.

For something different take a picturesque 40 minute drive and you will find the natural thermal hot pools of Tokaanu – a miniature geothermal wonderland.