Submitted by Chrissi Faber
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Front country - easily accessible
Point to Point (one way)
Native bushOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/topsVolcanic
Fastest Known Times (FKTs)
Can be run in either direction to qualify for FKTs
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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)
Features of interest
Emerald Lakes, Mt Doom (Ngauruhoe), Red Crater
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 2%
Technical Single Track: 18%
Moderate Single Track: 15%
Easy Single Track: 65%
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Tongariro Crossing Ketetahi Carpark off SH46
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
Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .
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
Post run indulgence
High tea with a view
Tussock Bar and Restaurant
Decent pub food - casual option
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