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Time: 6 to 8 hr, Distance: 19.4 km one-way

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is the best known New Zealand day hike set in the middle of the central North Island volcanic plateau.
Pick a good day and the scenery of Mt Tongariro and it's surroundings are incredible! However there is something mysterious and exciting about this area even if it is overcast. If you hate crowds then think again before you walk here in the middle of the high season. It's super busy and you will just be part of a marching ant trail. Attempt the Tongariro Crossing during the week if you want a slightly quieter experience or near the end of the season around March/April when the weather has settled a bit.

The walk is challenging, so good shoes and lots of water is a must. The walk is in an alpine environment and weather here can change by the minute, each season many people are caught out. See the reviews for evidence of this!

If you are a bit uncertain of taking on this beast on your own, there are plenty of guiding companies that can safely take you over the crossing. Enjoy!

NOTE - Recent notification from DOC - October 2017

Vehicle crowding at both ends of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing has adversely impacted on people’s enjoyment of this world famous day hike. The Department of Conservation has worked closely with concessionaires and local iwi to improve the experience for all visitors.

People planning to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing this summer are urged to use a range of shuttle services from the local towns around Tongariro National Park. The suggestion is being made because parking restrictions will be in place at both road ends of the track and the shuttle services will provide safe and easy access to the popular one-day hike.

Changes this summer season, between Labour Weekend (21st of October 2017) and 30th of April 2018 include a four-hour time-restriction for private vehicles at the Mangatepopo Road end. This gives visitors time to enjoy short walks, but people wanting to do the entire hike, which takes an average of six to eight hours to complete, will need to use shuttle transport.

The Department of Conservation recommends using shuttle services to access the start and to get picked up. The shuttle services operate from Whakapapa, National Park Village, Turangi, Taupo, Ohakune and Raetihi. Shuttles take visitors to the start, at Mangatepopo Road end and pick them at the end of the hike from Ketetahi Road end. Information on all approved operators is available from the i-sites around the region and on the DOC website.

Developing a stronger appreciation of the cultural and environmental values of Tongariro National Park, a dual World Heritage Area is also on the agenda.

Local kaumatua, Te Ngaehe Wanikau, explains; “The mountain peaks and all waterways on Tongariro and his peaks, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu are sacred to the local hapu Ngati Hikairo Ki Tongariro”

Mr Wanikau asks visitors to the area to keep their own safety and wellbeing paramount and also to respect the sanctity of the maunga tapu (sacred mountains) by not touching or entering any of the waterways, including the alpine lakes.

“Ngati Hikairo ki Tongariro places extreme importance on their guardian role in protecting not only Tongariro and his peaks, but also the safety and wellbeing of visitors to the region,” he says.

The Department of Conservation is removing access signs to the peaks and visitors are asked to stay to the marked and formed tracks. This summer there will be additional toilets in place on the hike and people are encouraged to use them as defecating on the tracks or in the alpine vegetation off track is unacceptable, offensive and a human health hazard.

The Department also reminds people that drones are not allowed be used in the park. Tongariro Alpine Crossing is unique and a special journey, so please leave your drones at home and let other walkers enjoy their experience.

“This summer expect to see more conservation Rangers at the beginning of the track and on the track to share these important messages with our visitors,” says Brent Guy Operations Manager.

Emerald Lakes - Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Emerald Lakes - Tongariro Alpine Crossing

fleaphotos

Into the depths of Red Crater - Tongariro Crossing

Into the depths of Red Crater - Tongariro Crossing

Rosino

In the mist: South Crater Mt Tongariro

In the mist: South Crater Mt Tongariro

Rosino

How's the serenity.....? - Summit, Mt Tongariro

How's the serenity.....? - Summit, Mt Tongariro

Rosino

Contact Details

map

RuapehuTongariro / National Park Village

Top of the world......  - Tama Lakes

Tama Lakes track - Whakapapa Village

RuapehuTongariro / National Park Village

Close up of Silica Rapids

Silica Rapids track - Whakapapa Village

RuapehuTongariro / National Park Village

Taranaki Falls in all thier glory

Taranaki Falls track - Whakapapa Village

RuapehuTongariro / National Park Village

Central Crater - Northern Circuit

Tongariro Northern Circuit

RuapehuTongariro / National Park Village

Tawhai Falls, full frontal

Tawhai Falls walk - Whakapapa Village

RuapehuTongariro / National Park Village

Meads Wall, Mt Ruapehu

Mount / Mt Ruapehu - Meads Wall Walk

RuapehuOhakune

Start of the Old Coach Road

Ohakune Old Coach Road - NZ Cycle Trail

RuapehuOhakune

View of the lava flow from Lake Surprise Track.

Lake Surprise track - Ohakune

RuapehuOhakune

View of Falls from the lookout

Waitonga Falls Track

945 reviews with the most recent first, showing page 12 of 73.

Jana Ebelina's avatar

Jana Ebelina

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

I never hiked on a volcano in my life before. The view from the top was amazing.

Clara Bertomeu's avatar

Clara Bertomeu

Ranking: 9/10

One of the most famous walks. First time I walked that long!! Beautiful view, lake, crater etc. Sun was shining! At the end I was so exhausted but so proud of myself!

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Lukas Boller's avatar

Lukas Boller

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful hike, very scenic.

Laura Constans's avatar

Laura Constans

France

Ranking: 10/10

There are a lot of amazing landscapes!! Just perfect, until not it is the best walking track for me!!

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Benjamin Schyler's avatar

Benjamin Schyler

France

Ranking: 10/10

Amazing crossing. Wonderful landscape.

Sebastian's avatar

Sebastian

Denmark

Ranking: 6/10

Super crowded and almost paved track. We went for a lot of other walks in the park that were far nicer.

Felicity Ford's avatar

Felicity Ford

England

Ranking: 10/10

Booked a return shuttle from Taupo with Tongariro Expeditions. Excellent service and the hike was simply breathtaking in every sense.

Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.

Kristal Lavender's avatar

Kristal Lavender

United States

Ranking: 7/10

So many people! I got there without bus reservations so hiked half way to the Red Crater and then turned around. I recommend starting later (after 11 or 12) after all the others who are hiking the whole thing have passed through.

Benjamin Leboucq's avatar

Benjamin Leboucq

France

Ranking: 8/10

Lots of different landscapes and no mans land. Awesome lakes (Emerald Lake).

Katharina Schick's avatar

Katharina Schick

Germany

Ranking: 9/10

Everybody has to do this Crossing! Only the end is a bit too long! Beautiful lakes!

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Laerke Soee's avatar

Laerke Soee

Denmark

Ranking: 10/10

My best experience in the North Island. I totally fell in love with the nature in New Zealand during this hike. Remember to bring good hiking boots, water and sunscreen, you really should go it is amazing!!

Daniel Weber's avatar

Daniel Weber

Germany

Ranking: 9/10

Amazing views and landscape. Best thing was to climb the Mt Doom.

Milan Maiwald's avatar

Milan Maiwald

Germany

Ranking: 9/10

Amazing!! Some challenging climbs even without Mt Doom. Met a lot of nice hikers and had some of the best views.

Similar to…

RuapehuTongariro / National Park Village

Top of the world......  - Tama Lakes

Tama Lakes track - Whakapapa Village

RuapehuTongariro / National Park Village

Close up of Silica Rapids

Silica Rapids track - Whakapapa Village

RuapehuTongariro / National Park Village

Taranaki Falls in all thier glory

Taranaki Falls track - Whakapapa Village

RuapehuTongariro / National Park Village

Central Crater - Northern Circuit

Tongariro Northern Circuit

RuapehuTongariro / National Park Village

Tawhai Falls, full frontal

Tawhai Falls walk - Whakapapa Village

RuapehuTongariro / National Park Village

Meads Wall, Mt Ruapehu

Mount / Mt Ruapehu - Meads Wall Walk

RuapehuOhakune

Start of the Old Coach Road

Ohakune Old Coach Road - NZ Cycle Trail

RuapehuOhakune

View of the lava flow from Lake Surprise Track.

Lake Surprise track - Ohakune

RuapehuOhakune

View of Falls from the lookout

Waitonga Falls Track