THE TONGARIRO ALPINE CROSSING

Experience the best one day walk in New Zealand

Daily shuttles depart from Ohakune from October - April. 

I'M AN ORIGINAL CATCHPHRASE

Ohakune is without a doubt the best place to stay when doing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The North Island's only mountain town offers a great choice of accommodation, excellent dining and shopping opportunities and a spectacular setting at the foot of the mystical Mount Ruapehu. Set right in the heart of the Tongariro National Park, Ohakune is the perfect place to rest and prepare for the challenging Tongariro Alpine Crossing. A 45-minute shuttles bus away from Ohakune, shuttles depart daily from Ohakune offering a door to door service, during late October - end of April. 

TONGARIRO ALPINE CROSSING QUICK FACTS

Distance

19.4km one way

Time

7-8 hours

Best time to walk

October - April

Start point:

Mangatepopo carpark,

45 minutes drive from Ohakune. Seasonal parking restrictions apply from Labour weekend in October to 30 April. 

TONGARIRO ALPINE CROSSING OVERVIEW

The other-worldly landscapes along this route have been shaped by thousands of years of volcanic activity, from the immense craters to the twisted lava formations.

The formed track leads up to the saddle between Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro, which is not just one volcano but a complex network of many craters. After reaching the Red Crater (1886m above sea level), the track descends towards the Blue Lake dropping down an exposed ridge towards the spectacular Emerald Lakes area (the perfect spot for lunch). After ascending to the Blue Lake and passing by the impressive, still steaming Te Maari crater, the track then proceeds around the northern side of Mt Tongariro zig-zagging down through the tussock plains on the mountainside and down to the Ketetahi Hut. An excellent place for a rest before tackling the final 2hrs of the walk. The track then meanders down past the Ketitahi Springs and into a canopy of native forest with the final 1.5hrs of the trail passing through an impressive ancient Beech and Totara forest which finally opens out to the Ketetahi Car Park and shuttle pick up.

TONGARIRO ALPINE CROSSING DURING WINTER

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing can be done during the winter on a fine day, however, it is essential to be accompanied by an experienced guide as conditions can be extreme such as avalanches, ice walls, snow and very gale-force winds. Special equipment such as pickaxes, crampons and other survival equipment is necessary for your safety, plus personal protective clothing for sub-zero temperatures. The experience is exceptional and well worth the effort. The guiding companies will provide you with all the necessary equipment.

ESSENTIAL ITEMS FOR THE HIKE

Weather conditions can be extremely changeable from very hot to bitterly cold. It is necessary to be prepared for all conditions.

  • It is a good idea to take a day pack for spare clothing, food and water.

  • A good supply of water, at least 1.5ltrs per person is recommended. (Take extra if you are doing the summit walks or it is a hot day).

  • Ample supply of food and snacks as nothing can be purchased on the track.

  • Very sturdy footwear as the volcanic terrain is uneven and scree in places.

  • It is advisable to wear either polypropylene or merino clothing next to the skin in cold conditions. Take layers.

  • A waterproof jacket/over trousers.

  • Woollen hat & gloves as the weather can change very quickly in the mountains.

  • Sunscreen (very important) even on a cloudy day.

  • Mobile phone in case of emergency. There is not much coverage on the walk best places being the Ketitahi hut and near the toilet at the carpark.

INDUSTRY

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