Completing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of the best ways to fully appreciate this incredible and awe-inspiring slice of New Zealand. This walk is regarded as one of the best one-day walks in the world, encompassing spectacular views of emerald pools, lava flows, and dramatic volcanic landscapes. The walk is a fantastic, intermediate trail for almost all ability levels. It is important to note however, that there is some uphill involved from both directions so a certain level of fitness is required. Get in touch with one of the local guides here or check with the Department of Conservation for more information on the trail's difficulty level.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing generally takes between 7 - 8 hours. Although the walk can be completed in both directions, the best way is to begin your journey from the Mangatepopo carpark at 1100m above sea level heading through the Mangetepopo Valley, wandering past views of Mount Ngauruhoe, up and over the crossing and past the Ketetahi Springs to finish at the Ketetahi carpark at 750m above sea level. Pace can vary so when planning to walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, allow a full day to complete the 19.4 kilometre journey.
Highlights of the journey include: The active Red Crater, which landmarks the highest point of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing at 1886m, the Te Maari craters, which burst to life in 2012 with a volcanic eruption after laying dormant since 1896; the lava flows of Mangatepopo Valley; the cold water Soda Springs of the Mangatepopo Stream; the Emerald Lakes and the sacred freshwater Blue Lake.
If you're super fit and experienced you can also explore some challenging side treks along the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, including Mount Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom) and Mount Tongariro treks to the summit. Both add on up to 3 hours for each return trip, so don't set off on one of these treks unless you are experienced and have all the necessary equipment, preferably a guide.
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