Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of the best day walks in NZ! Judging by the pictures I’m sure you’ll agree. Check out our quick video of the drone footage here (put it in 4k if you screen allows!)
The hike was somewhat a spontaneous trip, we planned it the day before. We had been meaning to do it each year we’ve returned but never got around to it. After checking the weather forecast, we realised that the very next day was most likely our last opportunity to do the hike. After a quick visit to the supermarket and a bit of organising, we were all set for our 4.30am wake up the next day.
Shuttle Service – Tongariro
The drive took just under 3hrs so we arrived pretty early. We parked at the end of the track and got the shuttle to the start. If you can take 2 cars then that would be ideal. Drop one car at the end of the track and drive to the start. Afterwards take the car at the end and collect the car at the start. That way you’ll save the $30/person for the shuttle. It really doesn’t matter what shuttle service you use- they all charge $30/person and run at the same times.
The track can be walked in either direction but you really want to start at Mangatepopo and finish at Ketetahi. That way you’ll be walking down in elevation. The start is hardest in terms of fitness, stairs on stairs on stairs and then you get to the red crater. You can also climb Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom to any Lord of the Rings fans out there) if you feel up to it! It’s a decent climb up, no proper track and you’ll be on your hands and knees for most of it but would be really neat from the top. We didn’t do it and at the end of the hike were glad (our knees were cooked). Next time we’ll just do the start of the hike and Ngauruhoe and then back to the carpark.
After about 2hrs you reach the red crater, also the highest point. We had a massive picnic lunch and chilled out for ages! The weather really was incredible but in cold/windy/rainy weather you can see why it’s too dangerous to do it.
After you pass the beautiful lakes it’s basically downhill the rest of the way. This is probably the hardest part of the hike, 3hrs of downhill on the knees is tough. The scenery is incredible the whole hike!!
- Wear sunscreen/hat.
- Take your own toilet paper/tissues. There are 3 lots of toilets on the hike but they don’t provide toilet paper. Only the ones at Ketetahi hut.
- Take at least 1.5L water.
- Wear layers of clothing that are easy to take off. If the weather turns it can get very cold very fast. It was really warm while we did it so it was just shorts and shirts.
- Pack a picnic/something decent for lunch- you will work up a big appetite!
- Don’t forget your camera!