Tongariro Northern Circuit
Tongariro Northern Circuit information
Circumnavigating Ngauruhoe, this 43km track can be easily walked in four days from Whakapapa Village, Mangatepopo Rd or Ketetahi Rd, all regularly serviced by shuttles. Although there is some moderate climbing, the track is well marked and maintained, making it achievable by people with medium fitness and tramping experience.
Optional side trips include the summits of Ngauruhoe and Tongariro, both of which lie along the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, part of which makes up a leg of this circuit.
The Northern Circuit passes plenty of the spectacular and colourful volcanic features that have earned the park its Unesco World Heritage Area status. Highlights include craters, including the South Crater, Central Crater and Red Crater; brilliantly colourful lakes, including the Emerald Lakes, Blue Lake, and the Upper and Lower Tama Lakes; the cold Soda Springs; and various other formations, including cones, lava flows and glacial valleys.
The traditional place to start and finish the tramp is Whakapapa Village, the site of the park’s visitor information centre. However, many trampers begin at Mangatepopo Rd to ensure they have good weather for the tramp’s most dramatic day. This reduces it to a three-day tramp, with stays at Oturere and Waihohonu Huts, ending at Whakapapa Village.