Going prepared is always good hiking education and shows a good understanding of safety in the outdoors. Preparation is key and will ensure you have a fantastic, comfortable experience.
Completing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of the best ways to fully appreciate this incredible and awe-inspiring slice of New Zealand. This hike is regarded as one of the best one-day hikes in the world, encompassing spectacular views of emerald pools, lava flows, and dramatic volcanic landscapes. You can’t help but feel proud of yourself once finishing this New Zealand wonder. 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. Check with the Department of Conservation for more information on the trial's difficulty level.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing generally takes between 7 - 8 hours. Although the hike 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. Between Labour Weekend and 30 April, there will be a four-hour time restriction for private vehicles at the Mangatepopo Road-end. Therefore the best way to experience the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is to book a shuttle.
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.
Regardless of the month, the Tongariro Alpine crossing can change fast, from sunshine to rain, hail or snow. It is important to go prepared as the weather is often more extreme than other places in the North Island.
For more information on what to expect including up to date track conditions please head here.