Alpine environment with rapidly changing weather conditions at all times of the year. It is common to experience strong wind, high rainfall, heavy snowfall and rapid changes in temperature, even in summer.

Check the Tongariro National Park weather forecast on the MetService website (external site)

Volcanic risk... This is an active volcanic area, and eruptions are possible at any time without warning. Active volcanic vents on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing are Mount Ngauruhoe, Red Crater, and Te Maari Craters. Volcanic hazard zones surround all of these vents. If you are within one of these areas when an eruption happens, you may be in danger. Know the volcanic risks and what to do in an eruption.


Check the latest volcanic activity information before you go, at the Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre and on the Geonet website (external site).

Winter snow... Do not attempt this trip when snow is present unless you are experienced in the back country and have an ice axe, crampons and are experienced in avalanche terrain.

Visit www.avalanche.net.nz (external site) for updated avalanche forecasts. In winter, the use of a guide is highly recommended.


Toilets are every 1–2 hr along the track.


Ensure you take:

  • Plenty of drinking water – water along the track is NOT suitable for drinking.

  • Food & snacks.

  • A water/windproof jacket and pants, hat and gloves, sunscreen and wear warm, layered clothing.

  • Appropriate footwear such as tramping boots.

  • Head torch and mobile phone.

  • Toilet paper.

  • Mobile phone, in case of emergency.


The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is most commonly walked from Mangatepopo in the Ruapehu region to Ketetahi Hot Springs, due to the Mangatepopo end being higher in altitude (1,120 m or 3,670 ft) than the Ketetahi Hot Springs end (760 m or 2,490 ft), therefore requiring less climbing. The crossing takes about seven hours of steady walking to complete in good weather, taking longer in winter or if walked from the Ketetahi end.


The crossing is a linear journey, starting on the west side of Mount Tongariro at Mangatepopo and finishing on the north side (Ketetahi). As a result, returning to the western end requires either retracing the entire 19.4 km crossing, or walking 26 km via State Highways 46 and 47 back to the other trail head.


The track begins at the western end near the Mangatepopo Hut with a low gradient until the foot of the steep Tongariro saddle. After the climb to the saddle, the path takes descents and ascents into and back out of two different craters, passing the Emerald Lakes and along the edge of the Blue Lake. The last two hours of the walk involve a long descent down the northern flank of the volcano, passing the Ketetahi Hot Springs.

806 Lake Rotoaira Road,


Tongariro National Park

New Zealand

(027) 228-4831

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