Known widely as ‘The Best One Day Hike’ in New Zealand. The world famous track starts at Mangatepopo car park 7km off State Highway 47. From there a well-formed and marked track up the Mangatepopo Valley follows a gentle gradient to Soda Springs. It’s a steep climb up to the Mangatepopo Saddle between Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe. Poles lead across the South Crater to the track’s highpoint at Red Crater (height of 1886m), a still active and steaming vent. Beyond Red Crater the track passes Emerald Lakes and skirts Te Wai-Whakaata-o-te Rangihiroa (Blue Lake).
From here the route descends to Ketetahi toilets and skirts the nearby springs down through native forest to the car park. From November through May you can expect summer conditions on the track.
Usually from June to October the track is snow covered and you need winter equipment such as crampons + ice axe, guided trips are available.
Transport leaves daily from right outside. Departure times to Mangatepopo road end at 5.45 am, 7.15 am and 8.30 am. Returning from Ketetahi road end from 1.30/2 pm to 5/5.30 pm. The driver will let you know in the morning the times we will pick up that afternoon. You don’t need to book the return time. Just finish your hike and catch the next available bus back. To book click here
What to Bring
- Food and plenty of water, especially on hot days
- Rainproof coat (overtrousers are a good idea too)
- Sturdy boots – uneven volcanic terrain can be difficult and tiring to walk on
- Warm woollen or polypropylene clothing – cotton clothes don’t keep you warm when it is wet
- Woollen hat and gloves or mittens
- Sun protection
- Personal first aid kit
- Map and compass / GPS – important in poor visibility
- Cellphone for emergencies
In winter you many also need:
- Ice axe and crampons – know how to use them
- Snow gaiters
- Avalanche probe and snow shovel
- Avalanche transceiver
Tongariro National Park weather can change with alarming speed. You must be prepared for all weather conditions. The weather in the car park can be totally different to what’s going on nearly 1000 metres higher and further up the track. Be prepared to change your plans and turn back, especially when visibility is poor and in strong winds.
– Be prepared