New Zealand Tongariro Trek

The New Zealand Tongariro Trek takes you through a world class National Park that offers dramatic spectacular volcanic scenery and is listed as one of the top treks in the world.

Tongariro Trek Landscape and Mountains in November, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
Tongariro Trek Landscape and Mountains in November

The National Park, set up in 1887, is located in the central North Island of New Zealand. It is also the 1st national park in NZ and 4th in the entire world. As a dual World Heritage area the park has important Maori cultural significance. The nearest towns are Turangi, Ohakune, and National Park.

This park has a dual World Heritage area status which also gives recognition to the parks Maori associations along with the remarkable volcanic features.

Walking the New Zealand Tongariro Trek will take you through forests in the low lying areas, through alpine herb fields, past tranquil lakes, unusual rocks and formations, to active volcanoes and a plateau. On the upper reaches the vegetation may be covered by snow.

You can choose to do the Alpine Crossing one day and experience various shorter guided walks that are on offer on other days during your holiday. This is a great way to make the most of your visit to the National Park and the treks vary from 2-6 hours so there is plenty to choose from.

Guided walks with an experienced guide are provided to enjoy the scenery and have the natural and historical significance explained to you as you go, what better way to learn about the natural environment in this region of NZ?

Alpine Crossing Track

The New Zealand Tongariro Trek Alpine Crossing follows the entire length of the mountain. At 18.5 kilometres it is a one day hike but can take between 6 and 9 hours to complete the crossing depending on local weather conditions and fitness levels. Starting your hike at Mangatepopo Valley end and walking towards Ketetahi road end minimises your involvement in any climbing.

Following the Tongariro Crossing by this route takes you past the active Red Crater followed by the unusually coloured Emerald and Blue Lakes, and Mt Ngauruhoe.

Emerald Lakes, explosion craters that have filled with mineral-rich water running down from the Red Crater thermal area. Photographer: Destination Lake Taupo
Emerald Lakes, photographer: Destination Lake Taupo

This is how it goes:

Mangatepopo car park through to Soda Springs, from Soda Springs on to the South Crater, from South Crater to what is named Red Crater, from Red Crater to the Blue Lake, from Blue Lake to the Ketetahi Hut, and from Ketetahi Hut to Ketetahi car park.

It's best to pre-arrange drop and pick up to and from each end of the walk.

Mount Ruapehu Crater Lake

This is another one of the one day treks, also a famous Tongariro trek, that takes you to the Ruapehu Crater Lake.

The lake is surrounded by snow-capped peaks. In the background you can see Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings) and Mt Tongariro, and if the weather is clear enough the east and west coasts of New Zealand. Riding a chair lift to the Knoll Ridge Chalet is an experience that takes you to the highest restaurant in New Zealand at 2000 metres.

Short Treks

Tama Lakes

Taranaki Falls

Silica Rapids

Tongariro Northern Circuit

See the longer Northern Circuit hike.


Assess the fitness level required for the Tongariro Trek.

If you are planning to go on a guided walk, which is recommended, your guide will also be able to advise on fitness levels well in advance.

Tongariro Walk Equipment and Clothing

Visit my page dedicated to Tongariro walk equipment for a list of items you will need at a minimum.