Often described as the best one day hike in New Zealand, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing provides an opportunity to experience some of the most scenic and active volcanic areas of the park. The track winds up the Mangatepopo Valley to the saddle between Tongariro and Ngauruhoe. It climbs to the Red Crater (1886m), then drops down to the vivid Emerald Lakes. After passing the Blue Lake, the track descends around the northern slope of Tongariro, then descends further in a zig-zag to the Ketetahi Hut. From the hut, the track continues down the mountain through tussock plains, then into the native forest to the end of the track.
This is a two to three day hike that can start and finish at either Mangatepopo or Whakapapa village. If you have a car you are best to park at Whakapapa and start and finish the track there.
If you require transport from Taupo we suggest the following:
Take a hike through Mordor of The Lord of the Rings. This is a full-day self-guided hike that traverses the Tongariro National Park from the extreme eastern boundary to the heart of the park at Whakapapa Village passing between the peaks of Mt Ngauruahoe (Mt Doom) and Mt Ruapehu. Highlights along the way are the historic Waihohonui hut; the Tama lakes formed by old volcanic explosions, and the Taranaki Falls. At the end of the hike, if time permits, visit the Whakapapa Village visitors centre to see the history of the park, or the village tavern for a well-deserved break. The hike itself is easy, with no steep ascents or descents – and with great views. This area of the park is less susceptible to the severe weather conditions that can be experienced at high altitudes on the crossing track – making it safer in marginal weather.