Hike Mt. Ngauruhoe & the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Tongariro Crossing Trailhead

This is one of the most amazing day hikes you can do in New Zealand. The views you get up there are not even close to what the pictures look like - they are way more beautiful! The bluest lakes in between the most wonderful vulcanic landscape. A mind-blowing experience!

Starting at the Tongariro Crossing Alpine carpark Mangatepopo (1120 m) you walk passing by the Soda Springs (last toilet for a long time!) up to the South Crater which will take you about 2-2.5 hours. From here you can take a side trip to Mount Ngauruhoe summit (2287 m) which will take you about 2.5 h return. It's a steep volcano and the surface is mainly loose rock and stones!

From the South Crater you walk by the Red Crater and you could take another (shorter and easier side track) to Mt. Tongariro (1.20 h return). At this point you can already see the incredible Emerald Lakes, which you'll pass by on your way up to the Blue Lake - stay here for a while it is amazing - then you make your long way down (around 3 hours) to Ketetahi shelter and then to Ketetahi parking area. On the way you have great views onto Lake Taupo and the Te Maari steam coming out of a crater.

Without Mt. Ngauruhoe the Crossing will take you 6-7.5 hours, with the volcano it might take you around 8-9 hours, depending on your personal fitness. TIP: Take the earliest shuttle from Discovery Lodge and you will be dropped off at the start (6 am) before everyone else. Otherwise you will walk the Track literally with hundreds of people.

Pack List

  • Good shoes!
  • Multiple layers for every weather (it can change fast up there)
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Plenty of water (min. 2 L) there is non on the way
  • Food for the whole day
Show More
RT Distance 14.9 Miles
Elevation Gain 4101.1 Feet
Activities Running, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Point-to-Point
Features
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

There's A Reason It's So Popular

I've done it four times. The diversity of terrain and sights is almost unmatched for a walk this short. Ngauruhoe is a great walk in itself, I would recommend doing this separately rather than combining unless you are extremely fit. My advice would be do it during the week, hit the trail early and if there's any chance the weather might be poor or compromise viz postpone, it's not worth it. Poles are worthwhile to protect those knees down the otherside. Finally, treat it with respect, it's an alpine hike. Be prepared for weather changes, no cotton, no jeans, no trainers.

Enjoyable one-day hike

Hiking up on Mt. Ngauruhoe is a must on this hike. High boots are recommendable, otherwise your feet will be filled with small rocks very soon. Hike gets extremely crowded in December.


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