New Zealand’s Tongariro Alpine Crossing is truly a once in a lifetime experience. Nowhere else can you bathe in such beauty and refuel your soul within a single day. It is surprising to me that so few Kiwi’s have taken this walk, but with the borders closed now is the perfect time to add it to your summer list!
The trek takes 6-8 hours and requires a mild level of fitness. We recommend taking the first shuttle out in the morning to ensure that you do not try to rush. This is the sort of hike that requires pauses and breaks in order to simply soak in the views and the stunning atmosphere.
You will reach a height of over 1,880 meters, giving you stunning views over Tongariro National Park Mt Ngauruhoe famously known in the movie world as Mount Doom, and the amazing Blue Lake. Don’t jump in though! Blue Lake is a taonga, or treasure, so it’s only for looking at - it does make for some fantastic photos however!
Photo by Robin and Steve Lornitzo having traveled with Backyard Tours.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing can be a great activity for the whole family, provided your kids are a bit older! If you have intermediate or high school aged children with a good level of fitness then this is an amazing way to spend a day together. There are also toilets at regular intervals (every 1.5 hours at an average speed), just don’t forget to bring your own toilet paper! If you need a way to coerce your teenagers to do the climb there are some amazing photo opportunities for their social media! Mt Doom, the Red Crater, Blue Lake and Emerald Lakes are sure to get them some new followers.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is usually packed in summer time, with over 100,000 people climbing it over the Season. There are still plenty of people climbing the crossing but if you want a slightly less crowded experience then now is the time to go! The summer holidays are fast approaching and this will easily fill up a day while leaving you wondering why you didn’t do it sooner! If your muscles are sore the next day you can pop over to Tokaanu Thermal Hot Pools for relaxing soak the private natural mineral pools and turn the whole experience into a proper holiday. Alternatively you can return to the Tongariro National Park and explore one of UNESCO’s dual world heritage sites. There are opportunities to wander through mountains, explore iconic regions in Middle Earth and waterfalls to marvel at.
No matter what your interests are there is something to inspire you here!
Photo by Paul Abbit on Tourism New Zealand
Many people like the idea of driving out to the crossing but there is a four hour maximum time restriction for car parking at both ends of the trek. It is important to ensure that a parking fine does not ruin an otherwise perfect day! Backyard Tours is a locally owned company that aims to solve this problem! They have a pick-up and drop-off service to the Tongariro crossing, exclusively from the only Secure Ketetahi Park and Ride, road opposite the trek end, and or from your Turangi accommodation at a very reasonable cost. Backyard Tours can also collect you from your drop off point if the crossing proves too much and you need to turn back. Leave the car in Turangi or the Secure Park and Ride and get a ride in instead to save yourself money, time and hassle!