Tongariro Northern Circuit
Tongariro Northern Circuit
The Tongariro Northern Circuit track in the central North Island is New Zealand’s first National Park
Distance: 43.1 km / Duration: 4 days
The Tongariro Northern Circuit circumnavigates the volcanic cone of Mt Ngauruhoe taking 4 days for its 43.1 km length. The volcanic landscape and powerful cultural heritage combine for a unique experience for walkers. The Ngati Tuwharetoa and Ngati Hikairo ki Tongariro tribes consider the area sacred and are strongly connected to the mountains.
- Package includes 6 days and 5 nights
- Pre and Post Accommodation at a 3 star motel or equivalent in Whakapapa National Park Village (twin share)
- Transportation ex National Park to and from the walk
- 4 Day Walk with 3 nights in Department of Conservation Huts
From NZ$ 293 per person
Numbers are limited – Book early to secure your space.
2020/2021 Season is open
Please note the walk is fully booked over the following dates:
- 05-07, 12-15, 19-21 Nov 2020
- 25 Nov – 20 Dec 2020
- 24 Dec 2020 – 16 Jan 2021
- 04-06 Feb 2021
- 01-02, 15-17, 28-29 Mar 2021
- 02-06, 11-14 Apr 2021
Whakapapa Village to Mangatepopo Hut
8.5 km / 3 – 5 hours
Stunning views of both Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro greet walkers on their first day as they traverse a number of streams as they head past volcanic cones and lava flows. You pass by the base of a small volcano, Pukekaikiore, before reaching your first day’s destination, the Mangatepopo Valley and its hut.
Mangatepopo Hut to Oturere Hut
12.8 km / 5 hours
The option of a 3 hour side trip to the top of Mt Ngauruhoe (2287m) can be considered today if fine weather permits, otherwise take your time over lava flows and stop by Soda Springs before your climb up to the Mangatepopo Saddle. Here on a clear day you can view Mt Taranaki and the valley below you and you can decide whether a bid for the summit of Mt Ngauruhoe is possible. Once at Red Crater a ridge leads you to the Emerald Lakes. A steep descent over more lava flows takes you into the Oturere Valley and your hut.
Oturere Hut to Waihohonu Hut
7.5 km / 3 hours
More stream valleys and volcanic gravel fields await you as you skirt around the foothills of Mt Ngauruhoe and more undulating terrain before climbing out of the Waihohonu Stream valley and over to the Waihohonu Hut.
Waihohonu Hut to Whakapapa Village
14.3 km / 5 hours
Head west along the Waihohonu Stream, and up toward the Tama Saddle. Once there head right to the Tama Lakes junction. A further climb of approximately 35 minutes to the upper lake and then returning to the junction should take an 1-1/2 hours. This will leave you with approximately two hours to your final destination at Whakapapa Village.
What should I bring?
To enjoy freedom walking a spare set of the clothes and underwear you are most comfortable wearing will ensure the hours on the track are a pleasure not a chore. Drying garments in the hut is often not possible for safety reasons so polypropylene and light wool with its fast drying qualities and ability to keep you warm even when it is wet is the most recommended material. Cotton clothing such as jeans, T-shirts and sweatshirts can be a serious liability when wet and have been responsible for a number of hypothermic incidents for hikers caught out in the cold.
Temperatures can vary during the day, with rain, sun and snow possible all on the same day at any time of the year. To ensure your clothing and sleeping bag stays dry we recommend you line your pack with a strong plastic bag before packing your gear into it.
Suggested clothing for the walks
- 2 – 3 sets of fast drying clothing. One set to walk in and one set to change into at night. Layers of clothing are recommended to manage changing temperatures. It is not possible to dry clothing at the huts.
- Light weight shoes for around the hut
- Good quality walking / tramping boots
- Good quality warm wind and rain proof jacket (gortex or similar)
- Warm hat and gloves
- Sunhat, sunglasses and sunscreen
- Swimming costume and towel (optional)
- Large waterproof pack
- Toilet gear, soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, small towel
- Sleeping bag and sleeping bag liner
- First Aid Kit, blister kit, insect repellent, sunscreen, pain relief and bandages, personal medication (e.g. antihistamine for allery to wasp stings etc.)
- Survival Kit — Survival blanket, whistle, paper, pencil, high energy snack
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Torch and spare batteries — There is no lighting in the huts either in the living area or bunkrooms or between huts and ablution blocks
- Drink bottle, 1-2 litre capacity (very important to keep hydrated each day)
- Optional extras — Camera, lightweight shoes for hut, earplugs
Food must be carried as it cannot be bought on the way, although some bartering may be possible especially if you have extra chocolate, gourmet cheeses or wine.
Breakfast cereals, crackers, cheese and jam for lunch and instant soup/dried pasta or dehydrated meals for dinner, snacks such as biscuits, muesli bars and tea and coffee will ensure you keep up energy levels without losing your appetite. Supermarkets in National Park and Ohakune will be able to supply all your food requirements. There are also speciality outdoor stores which have a range of dehydrated meals and other food products specifically designed for multi-day walking.
Supermarkets in Turangi and National Park Village will be able to supply all your food requirements. Whakapapa Visitor Centre also sells dehydrated meals.
Facilities at your accommodation
- While not five star, the huts you stay in have all the essentials you need for shelter and cooking with sinks, gas cookers, cold water, tables, seating benches and wood burners for heating and as well as solar lighting
- Communal bunkrooms have no pillows or linen and are built with a combination of platform and/or individual bunks with mattresses
- Ablution blocks have flush or vaulted toilets and washbasins with cold water only. Those wishing for showers or baths can enjoy the number of waterfalls or swimming holes on the track
- A Department of Conservation ranger is present at each Hut
Explore More Today
The Tongariro Northern Circuit is considered challenging as most of it is on open exposed terrain with much of it on uneven track surfaces. Cold temperatures, snow strong winds and heavy rain can occur at any time of the year.
You are responsible for your own and party members safety. For your safety you should advise a family member or friend when you leave for and return from your walk. At times severe weather conditions or events may make sections of the track impassable and you may not be able to complete your walk.
The recommended minimum age for the Tongariro Northern Circuit is 10 years.
Take a moment to watch the short video and explore the maps then you will begin to understand why this Great Walk of New Zealand is so unique with its outstanding volcanic features.
Great Walks Tracks are well marked and easy to follow but you will need a reasonable standard of fitness to carry your pack over the climbs and descents of the beautiful rugged landscapes to each night’s accommodation. The walking times listed above are approximate times for an average walker taking short breaks each hour.
Tongariro’s dual World Heritage status as well as its outstanding volcanic features make it a popular choice with all serious trampers.