The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of New Zealand’s premier hikes, boasting breathtaking lava flows, an active crater, steam vents, emerald lakes and magnificent views along its way. Don’t miss this incredible adventure – embark on it now!
If hiking the crossing independently, shuttle arrangements may need to be made from your accommodation to Ketetahi; otherwise, by booking a spot in its car park at Ketetahi you can skip this step altogether and walk directly from there to its endpoint. Visit the Tongariro Crossing Shuttle from Ketetahi Car Park which is the best option.
The Tongariro Crossing is one of the best-known one-day walks in New Zealand. Renowned for its lunar landscape of craters, scattered pumice, colourful lakes and mounds of scoria formed by volcanic forces over millions of years, it offers unforgettable views from this national park.
Attractively marked from start to finish, the track makes finding your way along its 19.4 km easy. Furthermore, you could complete it all in a day hike or extend it with the Tongariro Northern Circuit for an exciting two-day adventure!
Hiking the Tongariro Crossing should only be attempted by those with extensive hiking experience and in good physical health, as its terrain can present many challenging rocky and uneven sections. Wear a sturdy pair of boots with ankle support and take plenty of water on this adventure!
Mangatepopo serves as the starting point of the Tongariro Crossing hike, and all shuttle providers drop off hikers before embarking on their trek to the trail. Additionally, Mangatepopo makes for an excellent overnight destination if you wish to avoid having to drive back after your trek is complete.
At Mangatepopo’s pick up/drop off point there are various accommodation options, though you should expect to pay a premium for these places. For instance, Chateau Tongariro provides luxurious rooms near its trailhead that may cost more than others.
Staying overnight near the Tongariro Crossing can also be done at one of its huts, like Mangatepopo Hut. This 20-bed cabin can be found near its trailhead and makes an excellent option for travelers wanting a close proximity to their track.
The Tongariro Crossing is one of the most beloved hikes in Tongariro National Park. Every year between October and May thousands of visitors arrive at Tongariro to take on this trek; therefore it’s essential that you come prepared.
Your walking boot should be sturdy with ankle support. In addition, waterproof jacket and trousers may come in handy and it would be wise to carry a backpack filled with food and water supplies in case the weather turns bad or worsens unexpectedly.
As you walk, you will ascend through Mangatepopo Valley, surrounded by snow-covered mountains of Tongariro National Park and then following a track which climbs steep slopes leading up to Red Crater before traversing scree slopes to vibrant Emerald Lakes.
Make sure to be there early as the track can quickly become overrun, especially during summer months when hundreds of people attempt to do the Tongariro Crossing in one day! There are numerous restrooms along the route; just bring along toilet paper and hand sanitiser.
As the track continues its descent towards Ketetahi Hut, you will have time to rest and replenish supplies before continuing to explore further in this beautiful area. There are various walking trails and DOC facilities nearby which make the Ketetahi Hut a convenient base.
The Crossing is clearly marked from its start, making it easy to locate. Not only is this hike stunningly beautiful and rewarding; it is also long. Be mindful that at least 6-8 hours will be needed to finish it successfully.
Turangi serves as the starting and ending point of Tongariro Crossing. There are six shuttle companies which will pick you up and return you at its completion, so that no hiker is left behind on their hike!
Assuring your scheduled pick-up doesn’t go as planned requires calling at least 24 hours in advance of your trip. Doing this will enable you to be fully prepared for changes in weather or how quickly the shuttle reaches its destination trailhead.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is an iconic hike suitable for people of all fitness levels and experience levels, though you should ensure you bring adequate hiking gear with you, along with water to drink along the trail as well as food to sustain you for its entirety.
When to Hike:
The optimal time for hiking the Tongariro Crossing is from November to April, as this offers breathtaking views of both its volcanic plateau and Emerald and Blue Lakes.
Red Crater boasts active lava flows while Central and South Craters feature old flows from previous eruptions. Red Crater stands out with a unique feature; a large solidified dike covering much of its wall.
Visitors should also remember not to swim in the Emerald Lakes as these lakes contain highly acidic waters that contain thermal vents which can lead to serious burns for hikers who touch them without gloves. Furthermore, visitors should refrain from entering Blue Lake – considered sacred by natives – which must not be touched or interfered with.
National Park Village
National Park Village lies in the heart of Tongariro National Park and makes an ideal base for those trekking along its iconic Tongariro Alpine Crossing trail. Additionally, Whakapapa ski area and Tokaanu thermal hot pools can both be reached within 40 minutes, providing convenient accommodations.
Tongariro Crossing is one of the world’s premier hikes, yet getting there and back can be an ordeal. Most local shuttle services require two trips: first to your accommodation and then directly to Mangatepopo where the trail begins.
Tongariro Crossing Car Park can make life simpler by offering their one-way shuttle service between Ketetahi and Mangatepopo – meaning no worrying about missing it and having enough time to return by 7pm.
Tongariro Crossing Car Park provides an easy and hassle-free service for booking the shuttle service, with refunds issued if bad weather prevents you from doing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Departures start from National Park Village daily between 5:45 am, 7:15 am, 8:30 am and 9:45 am with arrival back into National Park Village by 1:30 pm until 5:30 pm daily.
Furthermore, shuttle services can be booked for either day trips or private charter. They offer safe and comfortable rides with friendly owner operators providing flexible yet dependable services that get you to the start of your hike and back again.
Tongariro Crossing Cottage and Crossing Transport in National Park offers free WiFi and garden views. This holiday home features three bedrooms, flat-screen TV, an equipped kitchen including microwave, fridge and washing machine as well as a washing machine and bathroom with shower.
Whakapapa Village serves as the main entrypoint into Tongariro National Park. Situated on its western edge, Whakapapa provides easy access to both Whakapapa and Turoa ski fields via State Highway 48. In addition to having short walk parking facilities as well as visitor centre services and toilet facilities.
This picturesque village offers magnificent views of Kohala Coast and five nearby volcanoes: Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Hualalai Kohala and Haleakala on Maui. This village serves as an excellent starting point for hiking, mountain biking and river rafting activities.
Whakapapa Village provides visitors with various accommodations, such as the holiday home Tongariro Crossing Cottage and Crossing Transport which features a garden as well as free WiFi connectivity. This home includes three bedrooms, flat-screen television, an equipped kitchen featuring microwave and fridge and more!
This property is 94 km from Taupo and provides a paid airport shuttle service, while also being within 1.3 kilometers of Tongariro Crossing.
Public transportation may be convenient and economical in this area; however, renting a car may offer more freedom and comfort.
There are multiple car parks in the area, such as Mangatepopo and Ketetahi car parks, along with buses and shuttle services; however, these may prove inconvenient or inefficient for visitors.
If travelling with children, it is a wise idea to reserve extra seats on your bus or shuttle service in order to minimize wait time when your little one returns from their hike.
The Tongariro Crossing is an ambitious hike best done under ideal weather and with plenty of water and food resources at your disposal. Allow at least one full day to complete it.