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The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is an incredible 19km journey through the Tongariro National Park, a UNESCO Dual World Heritage Park recognised for its spiritual and cultural significance as well as its outstanding volcanic features. The trail takes in some of the most dramatic landscapes you will ever see — cold mountain springs, ancient lava flows, steam vents and the spectacular Emerald Lakes.
This challenging trip begins at 1120m above sea level, climbs the Mangatepōpō Valley to the saddle between Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe, through South Crater before climbing again to Red Crater, the highest point on the crossing at 1886m.
You will then descend on a volcanic rock scree track to the vivid Emerald Lakes, known as Ngarotopounamu (greenstone-hued lakes). After passing Blue Lake, also known as Te Wai-whakaata-o-te-Rangihiroa (Rangihiroa’s mirror), the track sidles around the northern slope of Tongariro, then descends in a zigzag track past Ketetahi Shelter and down to the road end at 760m.
The track is a one way 19.4km hike that takes 7–8 hours (allow for a full day). It starts at Mangatepōpō Road end and ends at Ketetahi Road end. The best way to get to the start of the track is by shuttle. You can arrange transport through the Taupō i-SITE or Turangi i-SITE or see the list of operators below.
If you must drive, there are parking restrictions in place at both road ends. There is a four-hour parking limit at the Mangatepōpō Road and restricted parking at Ketetahi Road end.
Don't underestimate alpine environments, they are subject to severe weather conditions - please check the weather conditions with i-SITE staff.
In winter, you can expect snow and ice, avalanche risks, and sub-zero temperatures on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
You need special skills and preparation to complete the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in winter. An ice axe and crampons are essential, as is competency using them.
If you’re a well-prepared, competent winter alpine tramper, it can be a fantastic experience. If you aren’t experienced and equipped for alpine travel, choose another track. Find out more about hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in winter here.
Tongariro National Park is a dual World Heritage Area and the first in the world to receive cultural World Heritage status. The alpine lakes and peaks of the mountains are sacred to the local Māori tribe Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro. Respectfully, they ask that peaks are not climbed and waterways are not to be touched.
|Time||7 - 8 hours (allow full day)|
|Transport & guides||Yes. Please see below.|
|Dog access||No dogs|
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing in Tongariro National Park is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular tramping tracks, and is considered the most popular one-day alpine hikes in New Zealand. One of New Zealand’s ‘Great Walks’ – a must do in this area.
Taupo return shuttle picks you up from Taupo takes you to the track start then picks you up from the end of the track and takes you back to Taupo again. We give you a free map and information sheet.
Nau mai Hāere mai - Welcome to our backyard. Sit back, buckle in and relax as we drive you around Turangi to Tongariro National Park, the first Dual World-Heritage Park. Tours for you in-mind and we can custom transfers to suit. Contact us today!
Base Camp is a car park between the beginning and end of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, just in front of the Tongariro Holiday Park. Park your car, hire your gear and use our shuttle for your return transport to the crossing.
Turangi return shuttle picks you up from your accomodation in Turangi and takes you to the start of the track. In the afternoon we also pick up from the end of the track and bring you back to Turangi again.
We guide on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and on the other Tongariro National Park hikes year round. Adrift provides professional guides and instruction, transport and equipment for a 2 hour duration guided walk right up to a 3 day multi-day tour.
Let us take you on a journey to experience for yourself the world famous and spectacular Tongariro Alpine Crossing trek. This is a door to door service that will ensure you have one of the greatest days of your life
Cheapest option to get to the crossing is the Ketetahi car park one way shuttle to the start of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. We now pick up from the Tongariro Shuttle car park across the road from Ketetahi.
Turangi return shuttle to the world famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Depart and Return from any location in central Turangi. Locally owned and operated family business with the convenience of cultural insights & genuine local hospitality & drivers.