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Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Tongariro National Park

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is rated as the best one-day hike in New Zealand. Trek across a volcanic alpine landscape of dramatic contrasts – steaming vents, glacial valleys, ancient lava flows, alpine vegetation and vivid crater lakes, all with stunning views.

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. 

Getting to the track

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.

Important tips and advice

Don't underestimate alpine environments, they are subject to severe weather conditions - please check the weather conditions with i-SITE staff.

  • A reasonable level of fitness is required
  • Allow 7-8 hours (a full day) for your hike - be prepared for a long and challenging day out
  • Wear good footwear and take warm and waterproof clothing.
  • Take plenty of food and drink
  • Book a transport shuttle
  • Book with a guide if you are unsure or need to hire gear
  • Please use the toilets provided - toilets are located every 1.5 hours along the track
  • Drones are not permitted to be flown in the Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Alpine Crossing in Winter

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.

Sacred mountains

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.

Track information

Distance 19.4km
Time 7 - 8 hours (allow full day)
Physical rating Intermediate
Direction One-way
Transport & guides Yes. Please see below.
Dog access No dogs

 

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  • Walking & hiking

    Tongariro Lodge - Activities

    Tongariro Lodge makes the perfect base to enjoy the World Heritage Tongariro National Park and are experts at arranging Heli-Hiking,Guided Walks and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing .

    $200 - $1,500
  • Climbing

    Premium Tongariro Crossing Guided Walk From Taupo

    Our guides are personable, qualified and ready to guide you on one of New Zealand’s best 1-day walks. Adrift provides instruction, transport, equipment and gear hire. We guide every day and guarantee trip departures with wind, rain, snow and shine.

    $545 Book now
  • Custom transfers

    Shuttle - Tongariro Adventures Limited

    Our personalised shuttle service is at your disposal. We can transfer you to and/or from your bus, train, or plane connections. We deliver and collect you from the adventure playgrounds of the Tongariro area at times to suit you - You're the guest.

    $20 - $110
  • Bus & coach transport

    Taupo return shuttle for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

    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.

    $70 Book now
  • Custom transfers

    Backyard Tours Private Tongariro Alpine Crossing Carpark on SH46

    Tongariro Alpine Crossing – transport vans depart Turangi, and Backyard Tours Private Carpark SH46, providing round-trip transfers. Naturally includes our Māori blessing, Photo, local sharing of knowledge and stories, and free drink at end. Book Now.

    $40 - $70 Book now
  • Custom transfers

    Turangi return shuttle to the Tongariro Alpine 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.

    $50 Book now
  • Bus & coach transport

    Ketetahi One Way Shuttle for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

    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.

    $35 Book now
  • Climbing

    Adrift Tongariro, Taupo

    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.

    $195 - $255 Book now
  • Bus & coach transport

    Base Camp Shuttle to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

    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.

    $35 Book now
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Physical address:
Mangatepopo Rd
Tongariro National Park
4691
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