Tongariro Alpine Crossing
This 19km trek is New Zealand’s best day one day walk.
The track leads up to the saddle between Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro and then diverts over Mt Tongariro. Mt Tongariro is not a single volcano, but a complex of craters that have been active at different periods. The landscape on Tongariro is peppered with the different colouredand shaped craters, scoured volcanic rocks, mountain springs, and brightly colouredemerald lakes.
Summer offers a majestic landscape of recent resultant volcanic activity. There is a vast array of colors and textures created from Sulfur, Aluminum, Silica, and many other mineral deposits released from within the Earth’s Crust.
Summer Tongariro Alpine Crossing Guided Adventues
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing spans the length of Mt Tongariro (21Kms) and takes about 7 hours to complete. The walk starts at Mangatepopo (1100m), and commences at Ketetahi (750m). The highest point on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is Red Crater (1886m).
Mangatepopo to Soda Springs
Grade: Easy - allow 1 - 1 and a half hours
At the Mangatepopo carpark is a shelter and toilet facilities. This first section of the track is fairly flat. The track is well formed and board walked in damper parts. About 20 minutes from the car park is a sidetrack to the Mangatepopo Hut, and toilet facilities. The main track continues up the valley following the Mangatepopo stream and around the edge of old lava flows. It is interesting to notice the change in plants as you climb in altitude. At Soda Springs are the last toilet facilities until you get to the Ketetahi Hut.
Soda Springs to South Crater
Grade: Moderate Difficult allow 40 minutes to an hour
This section is steep - climbing from 1400 up to 1600 metres above sea level and is known as the devils staircase. Take your time - slow and steady is the best way to conquer this section. On a clear day the view down the valley and out across the surrounding countryside is well worth it! You may even see Mt Taranaki, another volcano on the western horizon.
South Crater to Red Crater
Grade: Moderate Difficult allow 1 hour
It is great to be on the flat, but once you have crossed South Crater there is another short climb on an exposed ridge. The track follows the ridge to Red Crater. The main track continues around Red Crater. You have spectacular views over the Oturere Valley, Rangipo Desert, Kaimanawa Ranges and down to the Emerald Lakes.
Red Crater to Blue Lake
Grade: Moderate 30 minutes
Care is required with the descent from Red Crater, as this part of the track is steep and you are on loose scoria which can move under foot.
To the left you will see an old lava flow from Red Crater spreading out across the floor of The Tongariro Northern Circuit track to Otureree Hut branches off just past the lowest Emerld Lake. The Tongariro Crossing track follows around the edge of Central Crater then climbs up to Blue Lake (A cold acidic lake). The lake is tapu (sacred) and it is disrespectful to eat or drink around its shores.central crater. To the right are the Emerald Lakes. Minerals leached from the surrounding rock cause the brillant emerald colour. The steam vents above the lake are responsible for the sulphurous smell.
Blue Lake to Ketetahi Hut
Grade Moderate - 1 hour
There is a short easy climb to the edge of North Crater. This crater was once filled with molten lava which then cooled and solidified giving a level surface more than 1000m wide. In good weather there are spectacular views out over Mt Pihanga and Lake Rotoaira to Lake Taupo. You then zigzag your way down to the Ketetahi Shelter through the natural alpine garden. Ketetahi Shelter has toilet facilities.
Ketetahi Shelter to Ketetahi Carpark
Grade: Moderate - two hours
The track crosses the stream that flows down from Keteahi Hot Springs and the rocks are stained interesting colours from the minerals in the water.
The track leads through open tussock land to a clearing with some seats. At this point the track drops steeply to the Mangatetipua Stream and thourgh native forest for about and hour and a half. There is a short sidetrack leading to a waterfall a few minutes before reaching the Ketetahi carpark.
The Ketetahi carpark has a shelter, toilets and a refreshment from Adrift waithing for you.
- Total walking time is 7-8 hours
- Commence walking at 8.30am. Finish walking at 4.30pm approx.
- Approximately 1 hour of scheduled stops and photo opportunities
- A medium to high level of fitness is required
- Clothing and equipment are required as per our gear list
- Adrift provides ice-axe and crampons (winter only)
- Tramping boots, wet weather gear and trekking gear is available for hire.
Return accommodation pick up and drop off for National Park (8am), and Whakapapa Village (8.30am) is included.
Drop off is usually 4.30-5.00pm.
Taupo and Turangi transfers are available at an additional charge.