Blog view

Hike the Tongariro Crossing

What is the experience?
Known as New Zealand’s greatest day walk, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing traverses 19km of challenging volcanic landscape. 

Beginning at Whakapapa, you’ll negotiate ancient lava flows as you hike alongside new plant life. At the head of the valley are the Soda Springs - a desert oasis of yellow buttercups and white foxgloves.

The track continues across the Mangatepopo Saddle with panoramic views of Mt Ngauruhoe and the volcanic surround. For those with an above-average level of fitness and ambition, Mt Ngauruhoe can be climbed as a three-hour return side-trip. 

As you approach the ‘Red Crater’, a strong smell of sulphur becomes apparent - a reminder that this one is active.

As the track descends, three water-filled explosion craters called The Emerald Lakes can be seen. Stained a brilliant green and blue by thermal minerals that have leached from the surrounding area, these unusual water features are a highlight of the walk.

After passing the North Crater, the descent continues through tussocks and scree to the forest line where you complete the final leg of your journey. Going this direction, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing takes seven to eight hours.

Where is it located?
The Tongariro Crossing is located in the Tongariro National Park in the Central North Island. The nearest town is Ohakune.

Who would enjoy this?
Those with a moderate level of fitness and an eye for adventure! While you certainly don't need to be super fit, to get the most out of the crossing, you should be able to walk at least one hour up an incline comfortably. There are two challenging climbs on the track, each taking up to one hour to complete.

Interesting fact
The oldest person to walk the Crossing was 94 years old!

Browse these customisable self drive tours that include the Tongariro Alpine Crossing:

The Central Highlights Walking Tour
Auckland to Christchurch 14 day hiking explorer
Great Northern Land

Contact us to add this tour to your New Zealand North Island Itinerary.

Check out blogs in other categories

Custom New Zealand Road Trips

New Zealand is the perfect Road trip destination. Small enough to explore but diverse enough to surprise you. From the sub-tropical Bay of Islands in the north to the sub-antarctic of the south every corner offers stunning views or incredible experiences.
The team at NZ Road Trip have been creating tailor-made experiences since 2004 and being based right here in Wanaka, South Island NZ, their first hand knowledge ensures you get to see the best of NZ.

Our Road Trips can be as adventurous or as relaxing as you like. From the adrenaline packed Queenstown to the serene beaches of Coromandel and from the rugged West Coast of the South Island to the bustling cafe quarters in Auckland city we can design the perfect New Zealand itinerary for you.