Difficulty: Challenging

Distance: 19.5km

Climb: 950m

Descent: 1050

Located in the Kaimanawa Forest Park, the half day hike up to Umukarikari offers a unique perspective of the volcanoes of the Central North Island.

A traditional New Zealand “tramping” track, the Umukarikari track climbs up through a mix of ancient native hardwood and gnarled beech trees.  This native forest is home to many species of bird, from the frenetic fantail, the shrill long-tailed cuckoo in summer, to the occasional screech of Kaka, our native bush parrot.  The change in vegetation is noticeable we move through different forest zones before emerging above the tree line into the alpine zone of mosses, tussock grass and mountain daisy.  Above the bush line we have panoramic views extending around from the eastern side Desert Road, the three volcanoes of Tongariro National Park, as well as Lakes Rotoaira and Taupo.  A great place to give you perspective of the forces that shaped the Central Plateau, in an area visited by only a few people a day.

Dominated by the Kaimanawa mountain ranges, the park encompasses a vast largely unmodified expanse of native forest, shrublands and tussock grasslands. It was gazetted in 1969 and is managed to protect and conserve soil and water, native vegetation, wildlife and scenic values. 


Beech forest covers most of the park. Red and silver beech are dominant in the north and east, with mountain beech in the south and interior valleys. Towards the west podocarp forest (rimu, matai, totara) becomes more frequent. Between 1160 and 1370 m the forest gives way to tussock grassland and subalpine vegetation.


The most common native birds in the park are the pigeon, fantail, bellbird, rifleman, robin, grey warbler, tomtit, whitehead and kakariki. In lesser numbers are blue ducks, New Zealand falcon, pipit, tui, morepork, fernbird, kaka, black and pied shags. In summer the shining and long-tailed cuckoos are common. The kiwi is now rarely seen or heard in the park but you may still hear its night calls or see signs such as probings or footprints.


  • Boots
  • Clothing and Equipment
  • Lunch and Snacks included
  • Turangi transfers
  • National Park Village transfers
  • Whakapapa Village transfers

Umukarikari Photo Gallery