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How to Spend 1 Day in Tongariro National Park

How to Spend 1 Day in Tongariro National Park

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tongariro National Park is recognized for its natural beauty, geologic and volcanic importance, and significance to local Maori. With one day to spend there, don’t miss the 12-mile (19-kilometer) Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Here’s what to expect from one of the world’s best day hikes. 

Morning: Set out early

The trailhead for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is easily accessible from Ohakune and Turangi. Guided tours pick up from most accommodations, and some hotels and hostels can arrange transfers for guests who want to hike independently. Get an early start on the trail so you can take your time. The first couple of hours include a lot of uphill, particularly the aptly named Devil’s Staircase. You’ll also walk through a volcanic crater that resembles a moonscape.

Afternoon: Begin your descent

Many hikers like to stop for lunch on the trail beside one of the bright turquoise crater lakes—just don’t get in the water. The second half of the hike is mainly downhill. Following a trail through dense native bush—a contrast to the rocky volcanic plateau—you’ll end at a parking lot, where your ride will be waiting for you. 

Night: Soak in a hot-springs bath

However fit you are, you’re likely to feel tired after the hike. Time for a hot-springs bath to soothe your aching muscles. Options abound in Turangi and greater Taupo, including outdoor public pools and resort baths. The waters are naturally heated by the area’s underground thermal activity.

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3 Tours and Activities | All Tongariro National Park Tours

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Tongariro Alpine Crossing Shuttle Options

Tongariro Alpine Crossing Shuttle Options

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33
Trek across stark volcanic terrain on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. This independent day hike takes you past Mt Tongariro with an optional side trip to the summit of Mt Ngauruhoe, located within the World Heritage area of Tongariro National Park. You’re provided with a round-trip transfer, map and information sheet to prepare you for the 6- to 10-hour trek. Early morning shuttle service is available from your accommodation in Taupo or Turangi, or from the Base Camp or Ketetahi parking lots.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$25.79
From
$25.79

Tongariro Self-Guided Audio Tour

Special Offer

Tongariro Self-Guided Audio Tour

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2
Tongariro National Park has the drama and beauty of a natural cathedral—the Maori believed that the park’s three mountains were quarreling warriors. With this tour, explore the Tongariro Passing as you would a wildly popular museum: with an audio guide. Hike while you learn about volcanic activity, the area’s craters, and Maori myths. You’ll receive a zip folder of audio files and map, but will need your own audio device.
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  • 1 to 3 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$12.23
$15.29
$3.06 savings
From
$12.23
$15.29
$3.06 savings
Taking safety measures

2 Hour Sunset Guided Walk

2 Hour Sunset Guided Walk

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5
Home to rugged peaks, deep crater lakes, and beautiful volcanic landscapes, the Tongariro National Park ranks among the North Island’s top natural attractions. On this evening tour, follow your guide along hiking trails to Mt. Ruapehu or the Taranaki Falls, and learn of Tongariro’s rich geology. As the sun sinks on the horizon, sip a glass of New Zealand wine and soak up spectacular views over the rugged scenery.
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  • 2 hours
From
$98.26
From
$98.26