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Silica Rapids Walk, Ruapehu

Home  »  North Island Walks  »  National Park  »  Silica Rapids Walk, Ruapehu – Walk detail

The Silica Rapids walk at Mt Ruapehu is an easy 4.7 km walk that will take you around 2 hours 10 mins. The start of the walk is just up the road from the Chateau in National Park. There is an excellent wooden viewing platform and seat to enjoy the stunning Silica Rapids.

Quick Facts

        • Location: Central North island, Mt Ruapehu
        • Distance: 4.70 kms
        • Time needed: 2 Hours 10 minutes
        • Difficulty: Easy
        • Wheelchair Access: No
        • Route: Round Trip
        • Elevation: 1140m
        • Wet Feet: No
        • Toilets: No
        • Dogs: No
        • Mobile Coverage: No
        • Last Updated: November, 2019
  • Track Highlights


  • Track Quality

    Good, lightly graveled track. 5 bridges to cross, you can walk this track in sandals.

  • Hazards

    Can be extremely cold around winter time

  • Transport


  • Water

    At the Whakapapa Village

  • Driving Instructions


  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    At the Whakapapa Village

  • Area & Track History


  • Best Things To Do near this walk

  • Map location of Silica Rapids Walk, Ruapehu

    Map of walk

Points of interest along the walk

In the map above, if you zoom in on the walk, you’ll see all the following track points and their location. Each point has photos along with a description about each one.

Point 1: Silica Rapids Walk, Ruapehu – Start

The best starting point is 1.9km up the Bruce Road from the Chateau. This is because the walk will be a very easy downhill stroll from the rapids. If the Mountain Goat’s 4X4 bus is running to the top of Mt Bruce, ask the driver to let you off at the start of the Silica Rapids. Or take a good 35 minutes uphill walk along the sealed Bruce Road to the starting point. The start of the track is on the right hand side of the road as you drive up to the top of the Bruce. Excellent track to walk on, you will enjoy this walk and the fantastic view of the Tongariro Forest park and the tussock covered plateau, so long as the weather holds out for you.

Point 2: Silica Rapids Walk, Ruapehu

After 25 minutes of easy walking, you walk into a valley of lava. Have a look at the amazing lava formation on your right before you walk over the bridge. And again if the weather permits look up the creek bed to see the top of Mt Ruapehu.

Point 3: Silica Rapids Walk, Ruapehu

Around 30 minutes you should be dropping down in to the valley of the Silica Rapids. There is an excellent wooden viewing platform there for you to take seat, rest the feet and enjoy the view. Great photos can also be taken from the platform.

Point 4: Silica Rapids Walk, Ruapehu

From the platform, follow the track down the valley and along the Silica Rapid creek. The track is very easy to follow and easy on the feet. Again just what I like, downhill all the way to the car park. Very peaceful walking through the mountain beech trees and ferns.

Point 5: Silica Rapids Walk, Ruapehu

There are plenty of places for you to walk down to the Waikare Stream and take a photo or two. Plus cool off the feet in the ice cold water. The Whakapaiti Hut turnoff is on your left. A long 1 hour 45 minutes walk with river crossings. From Whakapaiti Hut, you can walk up the valley and then up a gut buster of a hill and back on to the Bruce Road, 1 hour. From the Bruce Road it is a long hard walk on sealed road back to Chateau. Straight ahead is the track to the Whakapapa Village just 40 minutes away.

Point 6: Silica Rapids Walk, Ruapehu

Only 20 minutes to the Chateau. The golden rapids are made up of alumino silicate the same as the Silica Rapids. As the water becomes more turbulent it loses carbon dioxide. This creates ideal conditions for alumino silicate to be deposited on the rock.

Point 7: Silica Rapids Walk, Ruapehu

How’s this for a view of Mt Ngauruhoe to the south and Mt Ruapehu to the east. Just be careful you don’t step off the board walk and sink in to the wet marsh!

Point 8: Silica Rapids Walk, Ruapehu

This is where you need to pull out the book of NZ native ferns; we spotted 11 different verities in the last 200m of the walk.

Point 9: Silica Rapids Walk, Ruapehu

At the car park, walk out to the main road. The national park HQ is just 50m down the road. We called in to the Chateau and found a comfortable arm chair in front of the roaring open log fire and enjoyed a glass of NZ wine. The fantastic view of Mt Ngauruhoe through the bay windows topped off our perfect day.

All walks in National Park…

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Contact info

Mt Tongariro, Manawatu-Wanganui 3989, New Zealand

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