Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Tongariro National Park

Get ready for an outdoor adventure among some of New Zealand's best volcanic scenery at Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Linking Mangatepopo and Ketetahi hot springs, this hiking trail leads you past three active volcanoes, colorful mineral-filled lakes, steaming fumaroles, and boiling springs. With a length of 19.4 km (12.1 mi) and frequent rugged terrain, the trek requires a reasonable level of fitness, adequate equipment, and, importantly, sufficient amounts of drinking water. During the summer numerous shuttles operate between the two trailheads and connect them to the nearby towns. In the winter, however, very few shuttles run; avoid long waits or having to walk back to your car by taking one of the guided tours that includes a bus transfer. A visit to Tongariro Alpine Crossing represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Tongariro National Park trip itinerary website to plot your vacation.
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Tongariro Alpine Crossing Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
1,699 reviews
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4.7
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  • Wow. An amazing experience. Took a lot of effort and energy, but we were continually astounded with what we saw. We are over 60 though. You will need to be fit and have some walking training prior to ...  more »
  • A Coloradoan, I don’t get easily impressed by beautiful hikes but this one made my jaw dropped a few times. It is strenuous, so you must be fit, but the variety of sights and the beauty of the views w...  more »
  • Long doubted whether this for us as 60-somethings to do so. But fortunately the plunge. We have the walk in 6 hours, you can possibly longer and with a later bus back to your hotel. We started with reasonable weather and good visibility. All climbs are in the first half of the hike. Halfway through the mountain came the clouds, drizzle and an icy wind. As a result, we have little of the sea can enjoy unfortunately. The last part of the climb was scary, there were iron chains that you had to deal with because it was too narrow. The descent was heavy, we have had muscle pain after 3 days. Perhaps we'll go back and do the walk one more time in Nice weather.
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  • An amazing trek of 19Kms which takes around 8-9 hours to complete. A beginner trek with an intermediate hiking accompanied with beautiful landscapes throughout. A few things to keep in mind before you plan to visit: 1. Book a pick up and drop off service from your lodge or hotel, as there is only a limited time parking of 4 hours, and the trek ends 19Kms on the other side. 2. Three pickups are scheduled in the morning ideally 6am, 7am and 8am. The last pickup from the parking is scheduled at 6pm. After that you'll be charged extra for rescue services. 3. Keep yourself hydrated. Carry water bottles and a gatorade can also keep you going a long way. Keep some munchies with you as the long trek will probably make you hungry. 4. Wear easy and loose clothing which is ideal for trekking and tramping. Shoes should be of trekking quality that have a good grip as you're gonna need that grip when you're climbing your way down to Emrald Lakes. The whole route down to lakes is sand and stones, quite slippery. Hiking sticks can be really helpful here. I slipped thrice just here as I was carrying my backpack and a camera bag. 5. Carry some sunscreen with you as you're gonna need heaps of it especially if it's a sunny day. Carry a raincoat or something because it's New Zealand and the weather is really unpredictable. 6. You'll find toilets 3-4 times on the whole trek, so that's one thing less to worry about. Although I do recommend to take a small pack of wipes, tissues and a sanitizer. 7. Carry a fully charged camera or phone because you'll be tempted to click after every few steps you take. 8. Make sure your backpack have the necessities first as you're gonna carry that load all the way. 9. Prepare mentally to cover it and reach before 6pm. The trek is not that tough but sometimes especially after you are climbing down for like an hour or so, it may seem like it's never ending but it will :) So having a company with you can distract the mind and so you'll never notice all the monotony. Lastly, enjoy the whole trip. It's tiring, testing and tempting at the same time. Keep in mind to reach the parking before the last pickup. Good Luck!
  • The most beautiful part is in the first 3h of the hike. The rest is hiking down zig zagging on man made pathways with nothing to see.
  • Beautiful views I gotta admit, however the journey devastated my legs and soul. Took the Mangatepopo-Ketetahi route and the descent after the summit was a treacherous and mindless one. Folks without proper footwear would not have a good time at all. I feel that the route was way too twisted in a way that isn't ideal for a trek that's 19.4km long. Felt like it was a 30km one instead. Well these are merely my personal opinion so go ahead at your own risk :-)
  • The walk is challenging if you're not fit, but has stunning views all the way along.
  • Wonderful amazing track. Track listed here is the 19.4 one day hike (no huts or campsites) but there are 4 public toilets along the trail. I hiked this on a warm summer day in peak season and the queue for the loo was... very long and the trail was exceptionally busy. This start location also covers the Tongariro Northern circuit (the 3 day great walk) - ref my image below. Loos may only be kept up in summer - check with the whakapapa isite before you go. Also check weather before you hike as it can be very dangerous at the higher parts of the walk (red crater).

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