Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Tongariro Alpine CrossingOften 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 National Park. The total length of the walk is 19.5 km. You can expect to be no less than amazed with the sights and sounds you will encounter.

The track winds up Mangatepopo Valley to the saddle between Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe. Poles guide you across the South Crater to the highest point at Red Crater which is at 1886 metres. Red Crater is still  an active steaming vent.

Beyond Red Crater the track passes Emerald Lakes and Blue Lake (Te Wai-Whakaata-o-te-Rangihiroa). From here the route descends past the steaming Te Maari crater to Ketetahi Hut and the nearby hot springs, then down through native forest to Ketetahi car park.

For anyone reasonably fit and who enjoys the outdoors; this is an experience not to be missed!


Dempsey shuttles depart daily from the Whakapapa Holiday Park to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Return tickets may be purchased at the Holiday Park office from the afternoon before and up to 15 minutes before departure.

Alternatively, tickets may be purchased online from Dempsey’s. Click HERE. (Tickets may be transferred to a future date or fully refunded if shuttles are cancelled due to poor weather.)

Shuttles will only run if the weather is suitable. 

Be Prepared!

Being an alpine environment, weather conditions may deteriorate at any time and can be extreme!

Please make sure you take the following with you:

  • Food and plenty of water (1-3 litres per person)
  • Warm Clothing (woollen, fleece or polypropylene is appropriate, denim or cotton is not!). Carry extra clothing layers in case weather worsens.
  • Hat & Gloves
  • Waterproof jacket and/or overtrousers
  • Firm-soled boots or hiking shoes (uneven volcanic terrain can be difficult and tiring to walk on). Sneakers are not suitable!
  • Sun screen, sun glasses, sun hat on sunny days
  • Camera
  • Cellphone (recommended)

Approximate walking times:

These are average times only as people walk at different speeds.

Car park to Soda Springs 1 – 1.5 hrs
Soda Springs to South Crater 40 mins – 1 hr
South Crater to Red Crater 1 hr
Red Crater to Emerald lakes 10 – 20 mins
Emerald Lakes to Ketetahi Hut 1 – 1.5 hrs
Ketetahi Hut to Ketetahi car park 1.5 – 2 hrs


If the weather is unsuitable for hiking the Crossing, there are many interesting and enjoyable hikes starting from or near Whakapapa Village.

Further information on Tongariro Crossing here (Department of Conservation website).