Distance: 19.4 KM one wayTime: 6-8 hoursViews of Tongariro and NgauruhoeVolcanic sceneryCan be done as part of the Tongariro Circuit Great WalkClose to TaupoOptional side trip up Mount NgauruhoeBeautiful LakesElevation gain: 890 m

This hike can be started at either end and transportation can be arranged to bring you from the end of the track to the beginning to get to your car. Starting from the Mangatepopo parking lot, the trail begins relatively flatly and continues this way for around an hour. The trail then begins to steeply climb for another hour or so. Eventually you will reach a junction where you have the option to continue forward on the crossing or take a trip up Mount Ngauruhoe (this trip is around 3 hours round trip). After this junction the trail continues flatly for a short time before reaching another steep up hill for around an hour. This part of the track can get extremely windy so take caution. As you continue to climb you will begin to walk along the side of the Red Crater. Shortly you will reach the summit of the track. On a clear day the views from this point are astounding. From here you will begin a steep descent through scree. After a 5 minutes you will reach the emerald lakes. From here the trail continues mostly downhill to the Ketetahi parking lot.

While this track can be done either way, many people will prefer to start at the Mangatepopo parking lot, as the elevation gain between here and the summit is less than the elevation gain between the Ketetahi parking lot and the summit.

Alternatively people may opt to hike to the Emerald Lakes and then turn around and return via the same track. While this does cut out half of the track, it would take care of the problem of starting and ending in different locations.

If you are hiking the track all the way through make sure to book transportation before you begin the track. Below are some of the companies that offer transportation:


Pack List

  • Hiking boots (can be done in running shoes but hiking boots are preferred)
  • Water (at least 2 L)
  • Snacks
  • Hat/Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Warm clothes
  • Camera
Show More
RT Distance 12.1 Miles
Elevation Gain 2919.9 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer
Trail Type Point-to-Point
Easy Parking


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