Last Updated: 5th Jun 2024


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Tongariro Crossing

Turangi, Waikato

Submitted by Chrissi Faber

Last Updated: 5th Jun 2024


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 34 ?

Gnarl Factor: 38 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Point to Point (one way)

Very hilly

Native bush

Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops


Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +13.3%

Average Downhill Gradient: -10.5%


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Estimated Times to Run







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.

Starting through a birch forest the track slowly climbs right from the start. A couple of kms into the track you hit a stretch short steps with a few metres of track in between that take you up through to the tussock area. Once you get out of the trees there are stunning views over Lake Rotoaira and the surrounding area.

The rest of the first 10km is a steady climb up towards the base of Mt Ngauruhoe. It provides more stunning views - l could see parts of Lake Taupo on the day l went up (a bit cloudy.) On a clear day you could probably see all the way to Taupo.

Then you get to the top area. You pass Blue Lake, Emerald Lakes and the Red Crater through stunning volcanic landscape. In this part of the tack is the climb across the Red Crater summit which is very steep and covered in scree.

From the top it's a continuous descent down to Mangatepopo carpark which is very runnable. It starts of steep with a lot of sets of stairs and then turns into a slower descent on gravel track and boardwalks. Watch out for people coming towards you in this part as the track is narrow. Also remember that a lot of tourists will step to the right not the left to give way!

About 1km away from Mangatepopo carpark you can turn left on to the Northern Circuit to get to Whakapapa (9km away on deeply rutted trail)

Emerald Lakes, Mt Doom (Ngauruhoe), Red Crater

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

Note there's a 4hours parking limit in place so best to get dropped off or take a shuttle bus from National Park or Whakapapa Village.
Taking the bus from Whakapapa gives the option to add another 9km at the end of the track (on the Northern Circuit) to get back to whakapapa village

25 km

19 minutes




Generally good.

Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions)

No drinking water along the trail

Weather can change very quickly and it is a lot colder at the top of the mountain than at the start
The majority of the trail is exposed terrain
Plenty of people on the trail

Steep and gravelly
Plenty of people
Mountainous terrain

Chateau Tongariro
Whakapapa Village
High tea with a view

Tussock Bar and Restaurant
Whakapapa Village
Decent pub food - casual option

Trail Legend

Dylan Arthur

Dylan Arthur

has completed Tongariro Crossing 6 times in the last year.

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Fastest Known Times (FKTs)

Can be run in either direction to qualify for FKTs

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Trail Reviews

Took a group of 18 people on the track today. Trail in amazing condition. Ground a bit loose from summit down to the lakes but still very manageable. At a comfortable pace including breaks of 6hr 15min. Note the weather was great, however, wind picked up at summit and was icy.

Andrew Lucas

May 5, 2021

Went with friends so hiked rather than ran. Heaps of runnable stuff though that made me a bit twitchy ;) Wow, just wow. It's like being on another planet. Absolutely amazing. Be prepared as always in an alpine environment. Out on the ridge heading towards the top it got windy and the temperature dropped to below freezing in minutes. There were a number of people doing it but not so much so you were surrounded by others all the time so by all accounts, if you've been thinking about doing it, do it now before the boarders are opened to all again. Somewhere I definitely want to go back to.

Juliet Iremonger

April 24, 2021

Great track, insane scenery. Covid has reduced the numbers, perfect day and only a few hundred people walking.

George Mitchell

November 18, 2020

you can't beat it on a good day - one of the best one dayers in NZ! Sometimes it's a little hard to 'run' it due to the millions of tourists so head up early :)

Jayne Tankersley

October 3, 2020

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