Wild Things - NZ Trail Running Club
NZ Trail Running Club

Login



don't have an account?

Tongariro Switcheroo, Manawatu - Wanganui

Trail Directory proudly supported by Further Faster

Update Your Header Picture

Tongariro SwitcherooVery Experienced

Submitted by Mike Steel

Info Info

Trail Information

32.00km

2000m

2000m

 

Manawatu - Wanganui

National Park

Back country - remote

Loop

Mountainous

Native bush
Open ridges/tops
Volcanic

Very Experienced

9:00 (Slow)
6:45 (Moderate)
4:30 (Fast)

-11.7%

+11.4%

Download PDF Guide

Fastest Known Times (FKTs)

Men

There are currently no male FKTs for Tongariro Switcheroo.

Women

There are currently no female FKTs for Tongariro Switcheroo.

Filter FKTs

The more , the harder the FKT will be to beat. Learn about Fastest Known Times.

Missing your time?

Register or login as a VIP and get yourself on the FKT leaderboard!

Register Now

Description

Please note: all peaks in the Tongariro National Park are sacred to the local hapū Ngāti Hikairo Ki Tongariro, who ask that we show respect by not climbing them. Access is not actually  banned, so this is a conscience call for all trampers and runners.

This circuit traverses Mts Tongariro and Ngaruhoe on a variety of terrain (some of it untracked) from Whakapapa, requiring no backtracking, and combining 'touristy' sections of this famous pleateau with some remote untracked wilderness. Good to start early.

From the Chateau/Skotel, head out on the lower track towards Mangatepopo Hut near where you join the famous Tongariro Crossing track (which will be crowded if you slept in!) and follow it up to the top of the 'Devil's Staircase'. Leave the track here and strike out north on top of the untracked ridge up Mt Tongariro (this ridge dominates the skyline all the way up the Mangatepopo valley). The ridge has some nice rock scrambling in places and you can expect to be alone on this section.

From Tongariro summit run back down the tracked ridge to Red Crater, then run back along the crowded Tongariro Crossing track to the trail that leads up Mt Ngaruhoe. Climb this volcano by the standard route - using as much of the rock band as possible (600m, 40-80 mins). After checking out the inner crater, return north-east to the steaming outer rim, and run around to the high point on the far (Ruapehu) side of Mt Ngaruhoe (see pic). Then drop off the edge - take a bearing on the Upper Tama lake and begin the steep, airy descent of the untracked `dark side' of Ngaruhoe, which is steeper and longer than the popular northern side - it's highly unlikely you will meet anyone else here. Avoid getting into the big central gully which has bluffs, and loose rock - probably best to tend right to descend on a steep scree face; left is also possible but of mixed quality.

At the bottom is nice running cross country and over a (sometimes dry) tarn to two low adjacent cols above the Upper Tama Lake - pop over the left-hand col, which has a soft 60 metre descent to a remote and sheltered/bushy sandy beach on the northern edge of Upper Tama lake (refreshing swim on a hot day). Head left around the lake shoreline - some obstacles can be bypassed by clambering up a few metres and/or getting wet - then head for the obvious low saddle. From here climb up around the lake over some low hills (runnable) to where you join the standard track from the Upper Tama Lake. A cruisy and mostly downhill hour-long run back to the Skotel/Chateau.


Trail Community

There are currently no members to show for this trail.

Find people who are interested in this run.

You must register or login to view this content.

Features of interest

Central volanic plateau's famous lakes and active vents, plus some alpine lakes, a remote sandy beach by a lake, and the `dark side' of Mt Doom (Ngaruhoe).


Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 30%

Technical Single Track: 30%

Moderate Single Track: 30%

Easy Single Track: 10%


Route Data

Reviews:

You must register or login to view this content.

Photos:

You must register or login to view this content.

Your Trail Wishlist

All the runs that are on your To Do list (no limit).

Add to wishlist view wishlist

Your Trail Dreamlist

The runs you most want to do (limited to 10).

Add to dreamlist view dreamlist

Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Skotel (Whakapapa Village - turn left immediately past the Chateau and drive to near the end of the short road).

    Plenty of parking in the village and near the track.

    16 km

    12 minutes

    No

    No

  • Staying Safe

    Moderate.

    Make sure you take the lower track to Mangetepopo (which drops down from the Skotel; not the upper track - which is the one you'll return on).
    Some navigation required on Tongariro and more importantly on the descent of the southern side of Ngaruhoe (would not be a good place to get lost in cloud). If it's cloudy, the `Northern circuit' would be a good back-up option. Carry a map and compass.

    Patchy.

    Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Gaiters.

    Plenty of streams (also water at Mangatepopo Hut).

    As a run, this is really only feasible for the warmer months, since the peaks will be plastered in snow in winter/spring.
    Even in summer this is a fine-day trip only, and the weather can change up there very quickly.

    Take particular care on the descent of the south side of Ngaruhoe.

  • Sponsor this trail

    If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities, please get in touch below:

    Submit

Got a favourite trail? Tell us about it.

Share the love and add your favourite trail(s) to our growing trail directory.

Submit A Trail

Become a member today

Start enjoying the many benefits to becoming a member of our thriving community.

Become a member

Great brands at great prices with our VIP member's discount

Stay up to date

Sign up to our newsletter for latest offers and trail guides

Share this trail with a friend:

VIP Membership

Please register as a VIP or login to your VIP account to view this content.

Cancel Login Register

Membership Required

You can see up to three trail guides without being logged in but after that we require you to be logged in to your Free or VIP account. If you don’t yet have an account you can set one up here.

Login Register