Kia Ora. Welcome to Ruapehu

Tongariro Alpine Crossing Sections

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a day out you will never forget as your hard work will be rewarded with picturesque views and feel good sensations. The Department of Conservation are encouraging visitors to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing to book in advance for visits after 14 October.

We encourage visitors to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing to book in advance for visits after 14 October. There is no cost to book. For more information head here.

  1. Mangatepopo Car Park to Soda SpringsGrade: Easy - allow 1-1.5hrs. You will be dropped off here by your shuttle. There are toilet facilities at the start of the track, then again around 20 minutes from the start. The first section is relatively flat and gives you a chance to warm up for the day ahead. Near the head of the Mangatepopo Valley, a 15-minute return sidetrack leads to the Soda Springs.
  1. Soda Springs to South Crater
    Grade: Moderate Difficult allow 45mins-1hr. This section of the track hosts the "Devil's Staircase" which is a tough climb, rising 200 metres in a short distance. The track surface here is crossing lava flows and other volcanic debris so take care to adjust to the different walking surfaces.

  2. South Crater to Red Crater
    Grade: Moderate Difficult allow 1 hour
    A welcomed flat stretch here, followed by a rise on an exposed ridge to Red Crater, the highest and most exposed point of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing with stunning views wherever you look.

  3. Red Crater to Blue Lake
    Grade: Moderate 30 minutes
    This section will leave you speechless as the turquoise lakes become visible. The descent from Red Crater needs to be taken carefully, with loose scoria [scree] on a steep descent meaning you could lose your footing. The track then follows around the edge of the central crater, and climbs back up to Blue Lake, which is a cold acidic lake. The lake is sacred so please do not touch it, swim in it or eat around its edges.

  4. Blue Lake to Ketetahi Hut
    Grade: Moderate - 1 hour
    To the right of Blue Lake, you will see Emerald Lake and will be able to smell the sulphurous odour coming from around the lake. Again the lake is sacred so please do not touch the water. After a short climb, you will be on the edge of the North Crater, again with stunning views of the central plateau, then you will head down to the Ketetahi hut, which has toilet facilities should you need them.

  5. Ketetahi Hut to Ketetahi Carpark
    Grade: Moderate - allow 2 hours
    The track crosses the stream here that flows down from the Ketetahi Springs, please note the springs are on private land and you must keep to the track. Follow the marked track down through the open tussock and down through the bush to the Ketetahi carpark and your ride.

Sunset Tongariro Alpine Crossing view of Mount Taranaki - Visit Ruapehu.jpgSunrise 3 craters Tongariro Alpine Crossing - Visit Ruapehu.jpgShelter on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing - Visit Ruapehu.jpg

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