"Tongariro Alpine Crossing." National Park by kiwi

National Park Travel Guide: 21 reviews and 66 photos

An Extending Trek over Steep Volcanic Terrain


We drove for 3 hours to get to this destination, from where I live. The day before the trek, we were blessed with the most amazingly clear and blue sky views. Here you see Mt Tongariro, where we were to find ourselves the next day. For most of us this really is a Once in a Lifetime Experience, as distance, and weather can truly stop a return visit. Tongariro National Park lies in two regions, Taupo and Manawato/Wanganui, and the Crossing is divided by the boundary of these regions.

DOC (Department of Conservation) describe this walk as "an extending trek over steep volcanic terrain".

The walk begins and ends at different places so you need to think about your transport arrangements. Transport operators from around the area, even Taupo, are obliged to pick up anyone they drop on the mountain. You can also get instructions from Visitor Information Centres and use your own vehicles. Just be sure to tell someone your intentions or leave a note in your vehicle or accommodation stating your intentions. This is to provide knowledge in the event of you becoming lost or injured.

A magical wonderland up a mountain

It's only in volcanic areas where you find such beauty and magic such as this up the mountain. With the coloured lakes and moonlike terrain, it really is spectacular. With no birds and only tiny alpine plants hardly visible, you begin to see why they cast this area as Mordor, in Lord of the Rings.

Reality Is ...

The Reality Is ... That you are on an active volcano and here in the Red Crater is the vent where you can see steam and activity. While up on the highest part of the trek, you can really feel the atmosphere and smell the sulphur. There is no doubt here, that you are on a volcano!
From here you have amazing views down to the Central Plateau and the well known "Desert Road" section of State Highway No.1. During fine weather this is the main arterial route for vehicles between Auckland and Wellington.


Pros and Cons
  • Pros:On a nice day you can see forever.
  • Cons:The weather can change dramatically in a few hours.
  • In a nutshell:Volcanic Plateau, plenty to explore.
  • Last visit to National Park: Mar 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (21)

Comments (27)

  • travelinxs's Profile Photo
    Jul 3, 2009 at 1:46 PM

    simply stunning.

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Aug 5, 2008 at 5:58 AM

    Wow I love visitg yr pgs!Dad used to bring us down here a lot to go trampg,freq ski trips, Outdoor pursuits4school camps &great grandmo lived at Ohakune.Yr pics capture beauty so well as usual!Been hot here...then a little cool.then hot..its raining tday.

  • Apr 29, 2008 at 5:44 AM

    Lovely page

  • betako3's Profile Photo
    Jan 4, 2008 at 12:02 PM

    Stunning pics! The place looks vast, and to think that you did it in one day... Happy travels in 2008 :)

  • allikat's Profile Photo
    Oct 3, 2007 at 12:23 AM

    What an absolutely brilliant day! I often think I'd love to do it again, but I really think we had The Perfect Day - a second attempt could never live up to the first.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Jul 16, 2007 at 12:49 AM

    Wow Pam, I am really happy that you have told me about this marvellous trek for my album :-)) I had also some scree slopes and gullies in Chile once, but with rain and this was no fun, well, later, after we made it :-) Morning smiles across the planet :-)

  • mikelisaanna's Profile Photo
    Dec 10, 2006 at 5:32 PM

    We enjoyed your page and hope to visit NZ some day. I'm not sure about eating Vegemite, however!

  • Sjalen's Profile Photo
    Sep 7, 2006 at 6:11 AM

    Fantastic page and pics! :) And that special feeling when you've conquered a peak and/or walked/biked far...

  • Jul 7, 2006 at 4:47 AM

    You really have something going with this vegemite stuff, don't you? What is a scree slope? You really are making up words like Mangatepopo, aren't you? ;-)

  • roamer61's Profile Photo
    Apr 6, 2006 at 3:37 PM

    Great pics of the Caldera. What an awesome place for a VT meeting, haha.


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