Tongariro Alpine Crossing

You are here Home  > North Island  > Manawatu-Wanganui  > Ruapehu District  > Tongariro National Park >  Tongariro Alpine Crossing

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing (17km, 6–8 hours) is the most popular hiking trail in the park and many people describe it as the world’s best one day hike. It starts with a climb up to the saddle between the summits of Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro and passes breathtaking scenery and then travels downhill to the finish line at Ketetahi car park.

There are several side trips that you can take; these include climbing to the summits of both Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro and a short hike to Soda Springs.

You can walk this trail in either direction but most people start in the Mangatepopo Valley as this route involves less climbing. Much of the hike is over steep volcanic rock and it is recommended that you only undertake this trek if you’re reasonably fit.

Most people complete the Crossing in one day, but there are two huts and campsites on the track so you may want to make it a two-day hike if you plan on tackling some of the side trips. Some people spend the first night at Mangatepopo hut so they can get an early start the following morning and beat the crowds that arrive by bus between 7.30am and 8.30am. It is possible to combine part of the Northern Circuit with the Tongariro Crossing, which enables you to start the walk from Whakapapa Village – this option involves hiking between Whakapapa and Mangatepopo Hut and adds an extra 8.5km (3–5 hours) to the hike.

Transport to the Crossing

Several companies operate shuttle buses for hikers tackling the Crossing.

Tongariro Crossing Shuttles operate a shuttle bus service between National Park Village and the Tongariro Crossing trailhead. Shuttle buses depart National Park Village at 6am, 7am, 8am, 9am and 10.30am with return shuttles departing at 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm, 4.30pm and 6pm. The return trip costs $40.

Alpine Hotbus operate a daily shuttle bus from Taupo and Turangi for hikers tackling the Tongariro Crossing. It departs Taupo at 5.40am with an additional 5.15am service during summer (Nov–Apr) and Turangi at 6.35am with an additional 6.10am service during summer (Nov–Apr). The return fare is $57 from Taupo and $45 from Turangi.

Four-hour parking restrictions are in place from late October to April and the car park at the trailheads is notorious for theft so even if you have your own car it is advisable to take one of the shuttle buses.

Our address

Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Tongariro National Park

    There are 20 comments from Foursquare

  • Noah, 13 Jan 2020

    20km, 800m elevation gain, 7hrs+ trek with intense winds -- and totally worth it for a life changing trek

      Liked 0 times.  
  • Monica, 13 Jan 2020

    Incredible hike - the last 5k are the hardest. The initial summit is well rewarded with the red crater and emerald pools

      Liked 0 times.  
  • Marc, 05 Sep 2019

    The last part of the hike is probably the hardest since it seems to have no end. Totally worth it though!

      Liked 0 times.  
  • Petr, 04 Feb 2018

    One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

      Liked 0 times.  
  • Petr, 04 Feb 2018

    We did it in 6 hours! But you have to pass the slow tourist all the time on the way down ;) the last bush walk is neverending if you hurry for the shuttle. But they will wait for you for about 15mins

      Liked 0 times.  
  • Jess, 13 Jan 2018

    Well sign-posted 20km track with time estimates of how long each section would take. Be respectful and DO NOT touch the water when you reach emerald lakes or throw stones.

      Liked 0 times.  
  • Andrew, 01 Feb 2017

    A one day hike across a rugged (inactive) volcano. Driving there is half the fun - it's surrounded by a volcanic moonscape just like you'd see in iceland.

      Liked 0 times.  
  • Jeremy, 15 Jan 2017

    Tough trek-- 7 to 9 hours-- for those in average shape. Lots of ascent and descent. Bring hiking sticks, real hiking books, a hat, etc. If you prepare and pace yourself, you'll do fine.

      Liked 0 times.  
  • Laetitia, 25 Apr 2016

    Best hike but difficult in New-Zealand when the weather is good only !

      Liked 0 times.  
  • Josh, 22 Feb 2015

    Wow what an amazing hike. Long, tiring, but amazing. Be prepared to be tired.

      Liked 0 times.  
  • Kapil, 12 Dec 2014

    Best one day hike through Mordor land.

      Liked 0 times.  
  • Jas, 25 Aug 2014

    This19.4km trek into the Mordor is amazing : the perfect conical Ngauruhoe, Red Crater, Emerald Lakes... Start early, take warm clothes and enjoy the 7ish hour walk!

      Liked 0 times.  
  • Yuke-Wui, 22 May 2014

    bring a beanie & layer up... and don't forget gatorade (it helps!)

      Liked 1 times.  
  • Allan, 14 Feb 2014

    Não vá em dias fechados! Hehehehe

      Liked 0 times.  
  • Nancy, 02 Feb 2014

    Wow!Extremely rewarding and we'll worth it! When descending the summit, just dig your heels in and skree ski.

      Liked 0 times.  
  • Elissa, 30 May 2013

    Bring a beanie, sunglasses, hat & layers (a windbreaker amongst them)! 1.5l of water per person would suffice. Comfy & waterproof shoes as well!

      Liked 4 times.  
  • LF, 27 Apr 2013

    Go on a clear sky day , and you won't be disappointed at the peak

      Liked 0 times.  
  • Peter, 25 Jan 2013

    Have a look at the emerald lakes!

      Liked 3 times.  
  • Will, 26 Mar 2011

    Don't plan anything for your post-hike day. Your legs are gona need it!

      Liked 0 times.  
  • Adrift, 25 Aug 2010

    Stay in National Park Village as this is very close to the track start.

      Liked 1 times.