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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 (see 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.
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 in 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|
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.
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.
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.
Backyard Tours Services customers with transport to and from the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The best cheapest & safest only secure Ketetahi Park & Ride one way shuttles & transfer that value is not compared. Book now.
Our personalised shuttle service is at your service. 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.