Emerald Lakes on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. © Breathing Images

Tongariro Alpine Crossing: one of the best one-day walks in the world


View the map

TAP FOR MORE INFO:

Look, we wouldn’t want to oversell it or anything, but the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is considered to be one of the ten best one-day walks in the world. Uh-huh. Quite a claim.

Ask anyone who’s done it — and that’s a few hundred thousand by now — and they’ll tell you it’s one of the best things they’ve done ever.

Now, let’s clarify a few things. It’s a 20-km walk over some steep terrain which, if you keep moving, will take you six to eight hours. But there’s no prize for racing it; it’s so spectacular that you will want to take your time. Because in that 20km you are going to catch views that you will just want to stand and soak up — colour-drenched lakes, red-rimmed craters, dark, forbidding volcanic rock. That’s before you look up and see the mountains. On a clear day, you can see all the way across to Mount Taranaki. That’s a view that takes some beating.

And if you’ve got the time — make the time, we say — you can summit Mounts Ngauruhoe and/or Tongariro. Our woollen hats off to you if you do, but if you don’t, you’ll have still have achieved an amazing and unrivalled undertaking.

To experience alpine conditions without having to take half an outdoors store with you is a chance not to be missed. Sure, in winter, you’ll need an ice axe, crampons, a guide and the willingness to feel like you’re on the set of Game of Thrones: ‘winter is coming’ and all that. But in summertime, well, it’s a slog at times, but a totally doable one.

So yep, it’s popular. Hence it can look less like the craters of the moon and more like a Goretex catwalk. But the landscape will soon win you over. And you will finish wondering only one thing: when can I come back and do it again?


Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

Things to do

Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro: live the high life this winter

The drive around Ruapehu and his little brothers, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe, is spectacular in winter, but those who content themselves solely with the view from the window are missing out. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Things to do

Tongariro National Park: volcanoes of the south wind

Tongariro is New Zealand’s oldest national park with excellent skiing on Mount Ruapehu in the winter season and some of the most epic mountain-hiking trails in the world. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Things to do

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Whereas many people’s experience of the wonders of Tongariro National Park are limited to vistas of the volcanic peaks from the Desert Road or to a visit to the Mount Ruapehu skifields, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing offers those who take the trouble an insight into just why the park is rated an international treasure and listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Things to do

Trout fishing: some of the best fly fishing in the world

Experience fishing at its very best in the wide, swift-flowing Tongariro River.  Read the story . . . 

Where to stay in Turangi

9 /10
From $26
9 /10
Best Price Around
A Plus/Samurai Lodge

A Plus Lodge is in a quiet location in Turangi town area-Tongariro region, with large, relaxing gardens, easy stroll to shops, banks, bars, restaurant . . . More . . . 

From $26

Book now

Book now

9 /10
From $31
9 /10
Turangi Kiwi Holiday Park

COME AND DO THE TONGARIRO CROSSING - BEST ONE DAY WALK IN NEW ZEALANDTurangi Kiwi Holiday Park is an ideal park for families, large and small groups,  . . . More . . . 

From $31

Book now

Book now

From $110
Tokaanu Lodge Motel

14 x 2 and 3-bedroom fully self-contained units (sleep up to 9). Continental breakfast available. Indoor heated swimming pool and 2 private mineral po . . . More . . . 

From $110
8 /10
From $99
8 /10
Anglers Paradise Motel

Quiet spacious park like grounds and motel units all non-smoking, with an access unit available.All, except unit ten, open to garden, swimming pool, s . . . More . . . 

From $99

Book now

Book now