The Tongariro Crossing - One Amazing Day of Your Life
The Tongariro Crossing is renowned as a one-day hike that does it all, from alpine meadow to mountain summit with stunning volcanic features along the way. It takes you across a lunar landscape of craters, scattered pumice, coloured lakes, piles of scoria and statue-like mounds of volcanic rock—all testament to the forces that were unleashed to create this volcanic desert.
To get to the beginning it's easiest to use the track transport, which leaves from the Whakapapa Information Centre—the small charge covers drop off and pick up.
Do not attempt to walk the Tongariro Crossing in winter, unless you are an experienced mountaineer. Always ensure you take adequate clothing, food and water with you.
Tongariro Crossing Attractions
One of New Zealand's most popular walking tracks, the Tongariro Crossing combines glacial valleys with active volcanos and stunning volcanic formations.
The Mangatepopo Valley is scarred by lava flows. Discover young lava flows, darkened by the sun's heat, and older lava flows which have begun the slow build up of soil and subsequently have more vegetation.
The Emerald lakes (known as Ngarotopounamu by the Māori) are three water-filled explosion craters located below the northern edge of the Red Crater. The brilliant green of these lakes is caused by minerals leaching from the nearby thermal area.
Despite being surrounded by steam vents called fumaroles, the Emerald lakes are very cold and freeze over in winter.
The Blue Lake (known as Te Wai-whakaata-o-te-Rangihiroa by the Māori) is an old volcanic lava vent which is now filled with freshwater.
The colour of the Blue Lake is also caused by minerals that have dissolved in the water.
The Blue Lake's waters are cold and acidic. Do not swim in or eat food around the lake.
The Blue Lake is also sacred to the Māori.
Tongariro Crossing Accommodation
Though considered a one-day hike, the Tongariro Crossing includes two serviced huts that are available for accommodation.
The Ketetahi Hut is a 26-bunk hut located on the Tongariro Northern Circuit in the Turangi/Taupo area. The Mangatepopo Hut is a 23-bunk hut located on the Tongariro Northern Circuit in the Ruapehu area.
Tongariro Crossing Conservation
The Tongariro Crossing is managed by the Department of Conservation. Some things to remember include:
- Do not take dogs or other animals into the reserve
- Do not light fires
- Take your rubbish away with you
- Do not remove or disturb any artifacts or other historic remains
- Camp only in designated areas
- If a walkway crosses private farmland, leave gates as you find them