4 Day Tongariro Hiking Tour Lodge Based
From Rotorua (or Taupo):
The Tongariro Hiking Tour, New Zealand is a 4-day / 3-night all-inclusive walking vacation package, featuring some of New Zealand's best day hikes, such as the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and Mt Ruapehu Crater Lake. Staying in an alpine lodge overlooking the dramatic volcanic landscapes of Tongariro National Park.
We have designed this tour to cater for the adventurous souls keen to tackle the renowned Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Four days should give us a great chance to hike in fair weather and explore the park's many other tracks and attractions.
Tongariro National Park is a dual listed World Heritage Area - significant cultural heritage combined with arid badlands, crater lakes, sparkling rivers, breath-taking lunar landscapes, lush rainforest and alpine meadows - this New Zealand hiking vacation is a unique experience not to be missed! The itinerary below is a basic outline. Your experienced local guide will help you choose the best walks to suit weather conditions and fitness levels.
This hiking tour coincides with the Air New Zealand Sydney to Rotorua direct flights on Tuesdays. Hikers can fly direct from Sydney, be picked up from the Rotorua airport by their guide, and then be dining in our alpine lodge in the heart of the Tongariro Volcanoes within 6 hours of leaving Sydney - reducing valuable travel time. We then return to Rotorua on Friday evening, in time for the flight back to Sydney on Saturday.
Alternatively we recommend staying one or more nights in Rotorua accommodation at the beginning or end of your walk, so you can explore some of the many attractions of Rotorua.
Tour Grading: Medium
- A reasonable level of fitness and agility is required for this tour. You will need to be able to carry a small pack containing your lunch, drinking water and warm clothing for at least 3 hours a day.
- Track surfaces vary from well-formed paths to rough terrain broken by tree roots, rocks and loose scree.
- A high level of fitness is required to undertake both the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and the Ruapehu Crater Lake Climb, which are strenuous hikes of 5-8 hours, with a climb and descent of around 1000 metres and 600 metres respectively through an alpine environment.
- Both tracks cross sections of loose scree and rocks. Your guide will provide advice on fitness and weather conditions.
- There is always the option of doing shorter hikes or relaxing in the lodge instead.
- A vast network of hiking trails of varying length and difficulty make this area a hiker's paradise
Never too old for "adventure" - a programme I was sure was within my abilities and with real "adventure" content. A good programme and lots of flexibility along the way to accommodate weather & people's wishes etc. I liked Spud's light-hearted attitude, and being allowed to proceed at my own pace. Nothing competitive about one's progress against the others. - John Price (UK)
Well organised, challenging, and lots of fun which others should experience if coming to New Zealand. Had a brilliant 4 days - amazing walks with cool scenery, good food, warm bed, and something I will always remember. - Jo Sellwood (UK)
"This trip FAR exceeded the expectations of me, and of my group. We walked the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, rafted down the Whakapapa river, saw glow worms in a cave, and ate like royalty!." - Cortney, USA.
Highlights and Inclusions
We stay in an alpine ski lodge (2-3 star) high up on Mt Ruapehu (1700m) in Tongariro National Park. The lodge is simple but comfortable and warm, with great views of the mountains and central plateau, right out to Mt Taranaki.
The lodge has a large, relaxing lounge and dining area, looking up at Mt Ruapehu. Rooms have single or double bunk-beds and can sleep 4. We sleep just 2 per room, so you are guaranteed a bottom bunk. Single supplement available on request. Full linen provided. Drying room available. Separate men's and ladies bathrooms.
The lodge is a 5-minute walk from the carpark over rocky terrain. Therefore your gear needs to be packed in a backpack or easy to carry bags. We can lend backpacks on request.
The lodge is used by our group only, and its remote and dramatic location amidst the mountains adds to the friendly group atmosphere created on these small-group tours in this special region.
From the time you are picked up all your food and drinks are provided. Picnic lunches are made fresh daily and include delicious sandwiches, fresh fruit of your choice, and energy snacks to keep you sustained throughout the day. At most of the lunch stops you will also have the comfort of a hot or cold drink.
After an exhilarating day outside you will have worked up an appetite. Scrumptious nibbles and pre-dinner drinks will greet you when you return to the lodge. A hearty dinner follows: a traditional New Zealand main; seasonal vegetables or fresh garden salad; and no Kiwi meal would be complete without pudding (dessert), and tea or coffee. Enjoy a selection of NZ wines with your evening meals.
Breakfast offers a selection from fruit, cereal and toast, to a cooked breakfast of bacon and eggs, pancakes or porridge. Just what you need to start a great day in the outdoors!
4 Day Hiking Tour Itinerary
Day One - Rotorua to Tongariro National Park
- 2-4 hours walking
Pick-up from Rotorua airport 3pm or central Rotorua 3:30pm. Travel to Tongariro National Park. En route stop for a stroll around Taupo, a picturesque lakeside city. Drive high up Mt Ruapehu, then walk for 5 minutes to our own alpine lodge. Settle in with a glass of New Zealand wine, while your guide briefs you on tomorrow's walk - The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of the world's best day hikes.
Relish a delicious home-cooked meal while you get to know your guide and the other members of your small group. Retire to a cozy bed and hot shower.
Day Two - Tongariro Alpine Crossing
- 7-8 hours walking
Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing - known as the best one-day walk in New Zealand and possibly the world. A challenging hike leads through stunning volcanic landscapes, past steaming craters, quirky coloured lakes and impressive dome volcanoes. Fantastic views over central North Island.
Your guides will meet you at the end of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing Great Walk Track with a celebratory drink and snack.
Head to a local hot spring for a well-earned soak, before returning to the lodge.
Note: The Tongariro Alpine Crossing will be walked without a guide, as currently this track can not be guided commercially. A comprehensive briefing will be given for this hike and a cell-phone and trail map provided, as well as drop off and pick up from track ends. Your guides will ensure you are fully prepared and are just a phone call away.
Day Three - Ruapehu Crater Lake Walk
- 4-5 hours walking
Leaving from the lodge on the mountain take a chair lift up to 2000m, then hike up to the crater lake at the top of Mt Ruapehu (approx 2 hours up to 2660m). The lake reaches temperatures of up to 60 C. Impressive views of the central plateau and all its volcanoes are afforded from near the summit of the North Island's highest mountain.
If you fancy a more relaxing day you will have the option of joining a guide and heading down to the local visitor centre to do some of the shorter walks in the area, perhaps to the Tama Lakes on a section of the Tongariro Northern Circuit Track.
Tonight we enjoy a final celebration dinner in the regal surrounds of the restaurant at the Tongariro Grand Chateau.
Day Four - Tongariro National Park to Rotorua
- 3-5 hours walking
Pack up and head down the mountain to walk to the Taranaki Falls. Tumbling 20 metres over the edge of an old lava flow, which erupted from Mt Ruapehu 15,000 years ago, the falls plunge into a boulder-ringed pool. The track passes through an interesting range of alpine meadows and beech forest.
On the way back to Taupo a short walk leads to Te Porere Pa, an interesting and largely intact pa, built by the Maori prophet Te Kooti on one of his ventures across the North Island. A fierce battle was fought here but once again Te Kooti managed one of his miraculous escapes.
Drop off Taupo by 5pm, or Rotorua 6pm