Avg.Time: 6 hours
Start / Finish:
- Mangatepopo Car park – Ketetahi Car park
- Both trailheads are serviced by regular shuttle buses from National Park and Whakapapa villages.
- October to May.
- In addition to warmer clothing, a winter crossing usually requires an ice axe and crampons. Check on current conditions with the Tongariro National Park Visitors Centre before setting out. As the trail may not be discernible due to snow cover, a topographic map and compass will be necessary.
Maps / Info:
- Outside of winter, the basic trail map and trekking notes contained in the Tongariro Alpine Crossing Brochure is all you need for navigation purposes. Click here to download or pick up a copy at the Visitors Centre.
- Five Facts about Tongariro National Park:
- It is New Zealand’s oldest national park and the fourth oldest in the world.
- It holds both cultural and natural World Heritage Status.
- It is home to three active volcanos, namely Ngauruhoe, Tongariro and Ruapehu.
- The Tongariro Crossing is New Zealand’s most famous day hike.
- For all you Lord of the Rings fans, Ngauruhoe doubled as Mt. Doom in Peter Jackson’s famous movie trilogy. Channel your inner Frodo and Sam and make the ascent!
Route / Conditions:
- The Tongariro Crossing is well marked with poles and directional signs.
- Wet, cold and windy conditions are possible at any time of year. Bring appropriate clothing and equipment. Double check the forecast before departure; weather in this area is notoriously unpredictable.
- There is no water available between Mangatepopo and Ketetahi huts. Start early, wear a hat and bring enough water to last you through to Ketatahi hut (i.e. at least 2 litres; if you are doing side trips and it’s the middle of summer, you may want to double that).
- Conditions permitting, side trips to Mt.Ngauruhoe and Mt. Tongariro (particularly the former) are well worth the effort. Views from the summits are amazing!
- Plenty of accommodation options available in nearby National Park village and Whakapapa village.
- The Tongariro Crossing sports active volcanos, emerald and blue lakes, fumaroles, old lava flows and just for something different, a shady finale amongst native forest!
- In order to avoid the crowds (this is NZ’s most popular hike for a reason), do everything you can to arrange the earliest possible shuttle or private transport to the Mangatepopo trailhead.