Tongariro Alpine Crossing
This is like being on another planet; you have to be there to experience this. Walking on warm scoria rock with steam coming up, the different colours of the lakes, an unreal colour of blue and another lake in green, the water colours seeming to come from a different universe.
This crossing is in a National Park please see more information here
Please note a restriction now exists on part of the track as follows...
Rāhui at Te Maari craters
Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro, who have Manawhenua (territorial rights) over these lands, have delared a Rāhui (protective restriction) on entering this area. This upholds a traditional Maori custom (Tikanga Māori) which respects the Mana (prestige) of the Maunga (mountain) and to ensure the safety and protection of all people entering the area.
The Rahui extends across a 1 km radius around the Te Maari eruption site, as indicated on the map above. Do not enter this area.
Avoiding the Volcanic Hazard Zone
If you wish to walk on Mount Tongariro but avoid the active Volcanic Hazard Zone around Te Maari, these are the points where you should turn back:
If walking from Mangatepopo, either at the top of Red Crater or at Emerald Lakes
If walking from Ketetahi, where the track emerges from the forest
The best parts of the track can still be enjoyed. What most people do is start at Manatepopo and turn around at the lakes. This also means you do not need to catch the bus back to your car.
For this walk you will need to be fit, sorry some training required. The walk will take a fit person about 6 to 8 hours. During this time the weather on the mountain can change several times, so you need to be prepared. I have walked this three times now, two times the weather was very hot and the 1 litre of water I took proved to be insufficient. The third time I walked this mountain, I got caught near the top in some driving rain which was very unpleasant and unexpected. Take with you some lunch and nibbles and if it is hot take at least 1.5 litres of water. Take a good water proof coat encase the weather turns unexpectedly.
Park your Motorhome at Mangatepopo and once you have walked the track catch the bus back, remember to book the bus the day before. Most people make the crossing from this side as it is a little less uphill.
After a hard days skiing, snowboarding or tramping, stop at the Tokaanu Thermal Pools - Mangaroa Street, Tokaanu. I like the private pools, there are several of these, the water in the public pool is chlorinated and does not seem to have the deep muscle relaxing penetration of the mineral water used in the private pools.
Map showing location of Tokaanu Thermal Pools.
When in Taupo visit Spa Thermal Park, walk down to the river and hop into the hot pool, this is a natural pool and is a mix of fresh water with hot mineral water , very relaxing, and of course there is no charge for this little discovered attraction.
Itinarery - about 431km or 5.5 hours one way
From Auckland travel south on highway 1,
at Ngaruawahia turn right onto highway 39
On to Mangakino and the via highway 30 to Whakamaru where you join highway 32 to Tokaanu (C)
Mangatepopo is off highway 47 and there are a number of car parks available at the start of the track.
Taupo visit Spa Thermal Park(D) would be recommended on the return trip to Auckland.
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