Backpack the Tongariro Northern Circuit

New Zealand Tongariro Crossing Trailhead

Added by Kyle Frost

The Tongariro National Park has Dual World Heritage status and contains 3 active volcanoes. You'll have the opportunity to throw the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom. There's also a robust hut system, which means that you'll have a protected and warm spot to sleep if you go that route. Limited camping is also available, and the track can be hiked clockwise or counterclockwise.

Most people visiting Togariro National park do the 1 day Alpine Crossing. I opted to do the full circuit, a 27 mile hike that takes you all the way around the prominent summit of Mt. Ngaroe.

I traveled the trail clockwise, leaving from Whakapapa Village and heading to Waihohonu Hut on the first day. This part of the trail is fairly flat and winds 14.3 km around the south side of Ngaroe.

Day 2 brought a short 8km hike to the Oturere Hut. Since that didn't take very long, I day hiked up to the Emerald lakes and the Ketetahi hut. The sunset over Mt. Ngauruhoe and Mt. Tongariro from Oturere was spectacular.

On Day 3, I rose with the sun and tackled the trail up to Tongariro crossing and the Red Crater. I dropped my pack at the bottom of Ngauruhoe and summited early, before the tallus slopes were overrun with day hikers. Instead of stopping at the Mangatepopo Hut, I decided to finish off the loop, adding significant mileage, but all mostly downhill back to Whakapapa village.

Pack List

  • Sleeping Bag
  • Warm clothes (Tongariro is notorious for nasty weather)
  • 10 essentials
  • Tent (if camping)
  • Rain gear
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Backpacking, Camping, Hiking

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Loop

Distance:

26.7 Miles

Rating:

Features:

Bathrooms
Groups
Lake
Scenic

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

about 1 year ago

justifiably a World Heritage

Such a great Walk. We also did it clockwise but already walked to the second hut because we couldn't book the first one. That made it an 8 hour walk but that was actually a good thing because that way we had prefect weather while waking up the Tongariro. We took the additional walk to the top witch was another 1.5 hours. The view from the top was stunning and you do appreciate it much more if you already where walking two days to get there. On the last steep hill there were many day-trippers but it was not too full that day. A definite must-do is to get up in the middle of the night and admire that beautiful night sky. The last day was still a pretty exhausting walk of only three hours but you'll feel so good after you done it.

about 1 year ago

Added by Kyle Frost

Designer and Adventure Photographer based in Boulder, Colorado. Fan of mountains, coffee, beer, and witty banter. Available for commissions and collaborations. I'm @kylefrost pretty much everywhere.

More Adventures Nearby

Hike to the Summit of Treble Cone

New Zealand / Treble Cone Ski Field

If you're in Wanaka, you cannot miss this hike. If the ski area is closed for the season you can still hike there but please check in with the Treble Cone Office in Wanaka.

Tobin Akehurst
1 Saves

Climb Mount B'Limit

New Zealand / Temple Basin

Begin your adventure by hiking up the Temple Basin Ski Field access trail. Continue beyond the Ski huts to the upper basin below Mt Temple and B'Limit.

Tobin Akehurst
1 Saves

Explore Milford Sound

New Zealand / Milford Sound Parking Area

Milford Sound can be explored by land or sea.

Tobin Akehurst
3 Saves