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3 Day Tongariro Northern Circuit

Days
3

Pricing From
$1195

Difficulty

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Overview

The Tongariro Northern Circuit in Tongariro National Park is a 3 day hike starting on Mt Ruapehu and encircles Mt Ngauruhoe, and has been designated one of the Great Walks of New Zealand. The circuit can be started from different points and walked in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing track, explosion craters, lava flows, Tama Lakes, Taranaki Falls and the Rangipo and Otarere deserts, are explored on this trek. This trek is a good way to enjoy the Tongariro National Park at a less energetic pace, whilst avoiding the crowds of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Mt Ngauruhoe had sporadic action during its last eruptions of 1973-1975. Since 1839, Ngauruhoe has erupted 61 times with breaks lasting no more than nine years (until 1975), and it is this regular activity that formed the perfect symmetry of its cone shape.

Below is the route most people enjoy the most but is a template only and is changed continually depending on the weather conditions and what you want to see achieve and enjoy.

Tour Grading: C

Gear List

Walking boots, socks (2 pairs), walking pants or shorts (not jeans), a waterproof rain jacket, 2-3 thermal or fleece tops, 50L backpack, 1.5L water container, walking poles (optional), sun hat, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, suntan lotion, personal medical needs including blister tape and toiletries and personals for 3 days.

For the hut at night: Sleeping bag, 1 set of spare pants, top and light footwear (crocs), head torch, a small book, cards or other if you want to relax at night.

Please be careful not to pack too much but please feel free to bring with you what you think you may need and we can scrutinise and advise that which we think is superfluous to requirements.

Gear For Hire

We have available for hire equipment, footwear and clothing to supplement that which you don’t have and need including boots, socks, thermal longs, fleece longs, waterproof pants, thermal tops, fleece tops, waterproof tops, warm gloves, warm hats, sun hats, sunglasses, backpacks, walking poles and sleeping bags and liners.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit

Tongariro Northern Circuit

Tongariro Northern Circuit

Tongariro Northern Circuit

Tongariro Northern Circuit

Tongariro Northern Circuit

Tongariro Northern Circuit

Tongariro Northern Circuit

Tongariro Northern Circuit

Tongariro Northern Circuit

Tongariro Northern Circuit

Tongariro Northern Circuit

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Whakapapa Village to Waihohanui Hut (L,D)16 kms, 6-7 hrs Walking

Stay a night before and after your walk with accommodation at Whakapapa Village or National Park.

The Northern Circuit hike begins at Mangetepopo, and it won’t take long before you realise just why this hike is known as one of the Great Walks of New Zealand. The track takes you along the Mangetepopo stream, up the valley, over several old Ngauruhoe lava flows. The youngest of which dates back to the Ngauruhoe eruptions back in 1949 and 1954.

After a steady climb, you will reach the Mangatepopo Saddle. From here, provided the weather is clear, you can enjoy a view of the valley and Mt Taranaki. From here, you will cross the South Crater, which is a large plateau located between the peak of Mt Ngauruhoe ( Mt Doom) and Mt Tongariro.

For the next portion of the hike, you will certainly want to keep your camera ready! The Tongariro Alpine Crossing Track is one of the best walks in the world and there are plenty of amazing photo opportunities along the way. After making your way up to the track’s highest point, the views will prove more than worthwhile. Look out upon the North Island and the almost Mars-like terrain all around. Red crater is a breathtakingly beautiful sight with superb magma formations beneath the rim. We will then enjoy a generous break to take in the volcanic sights while enjoying a nutritious lunch.

Hereafter, we make our way along the rim of the crater before venturing down to the sparkling Emerald Lakes located where explosion pits once were.

From the Lakes, the track leads down to the Oturere Valley before weaving through the rugged lava formations. These forms are as a result of the Red Crater’s earlier eruptions. If the weather is misty, it adds something extra special to this experience. The Oturere Hut is located on the flows’ eastern edge and this is the ideal spot for watching the sun set in Tongariro National Park.

Day 2Waihohonu Hut to Otarere Hut (B,L,D)8 kms, 3-4 Hours Walking

 

This day’s hike travels across the moon-like landscapes of Mt Ngauruhoe’s eastern side. Keep your camera handy because there are some fantastic photo opportunities along this route. Views of the old lava fields and all the way to the Rangipo Desert (the only desert in New Zealand), the Kaimanawa Mountains with the backdrop of the snow-capped Mt Ruapehu.

The track ventures around the foot hills of Ngauruhoe, before making its way down into a valley and then across one of the Waihohonu Stream branches. We then continue to the top of the ridge via a valley clad with beautiful beech. Waihohonu Hut is located in the following valley. The large windows of the hut allow visitors to enjoy some of the most amazing views of their surroundings while enjoying the warmth of a roaring fire to make you feel right at home.

After enjoying a delicious lunch, we then make our way to the Ohinepango freshwater springs. Enjoy the relaxing afternoon in one of the most beautiful settings in the country. As freezing cold as these spring waters are, there are those who are crazy enough to venture in for a dip!

 

Day 3Otarere Hut to Ketetahi (B,L)14kms, 5 Hours Walking

After enjoying a scrumptious cooked breakfast, we make our way along the Waihohonu stream and climb to Tama Saddle. The track ventures through some lovely native forest pockets as well as tussock fields between Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu.

From the saddle, there is an amazing side trip to two explosion craters that became filled with water and are now known as the Tama Lakes. From the Tama Lakes junction, we will continue to a lookout over the Taranaki Falls. These falls are 20m high and the water flows over an old lava flow which was the result of Mt Ruapehu’s eruptions about 15,000 years ago. Below, a pool surrounded by large boulders catches the falling water.

From here, the stroll through the beech forest and tussock meadows is relatively easy as you make your way to Whakapapa village. Here, you will be welcomed with an ice-cold beer and a much deserved celebration. Hereafter, we will take you to Whakpapa or National Park Village. These hikes, the amazing views, memories and delicious food will leave you feeling invigorated and refreshed. Your Tongariro National Park hike will prove unforgettable.

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Whakapapa Village to Waihohanui Hut (L,D)16 kms, 6-7 hrs Walking

Stay a night before and after your walk with accommodation at Whakapapa Village or National Park.

The Northern Circuit hike begins at Mangetepopo, and it won’t take long before you realise just why this hike is known as one of the Great Walks of New Zealand. The track takes you along the Mangetepopo stream, up the valley, over several old Ngauruhoe lava flows. The youngest of which dates back to the Ngauruhoe eruptions back in 1949 and 1954.

After a steady climb, you will reach the Mangatepopo Saddle. From here, provided the weather is clear, you can enjoy a view of the valley and Mt Taranaki. From here, you will cross the South Crater, which is a large plateau located between the peak of Mt Ngauruhoe ( Mt Doom) and Mt Tongariro.

For the next portion of the hike, you will certainly want to keep your camera ready! The Tongariro Alpine Crossing Track is one of the best walks in the world and there are plenty of amazing photo opportunities along the way. After making your way up to the track’s highest point, the views will prove more than worthwhile. Look out upon the North Island and the almost Mars-like terrain all around. Red crater is a breathtakingly beautiful sight with superb magma formations beneath the rim. We will then enjoy a generous break to take in the volcanic sights while enjoying a nutritious lunch.

Hereafter, we make our way along the rim of the crater before venturing down to the sparkling Emerald Lakes located where explosion pits once were.

From the Lakes, the track leads down to the Oturere Valley before weaving through the rugged lava formations. These forms are as a result of the Red Crater’s earlier eruptions. If the weather is misty, it adds something extra special to this experience. The Oturere Hut is located on the flows’ eastern edge and this is the ideal spot for watching the sun set in Tongariro National Park.

Day 2Waihohonu Hut to Otarere Hut (B,L,D)8 kms, 3-4 Hours Walking

 

This day’s hike travels across the moon-like landscapes of Mt Ngauruhoe’s eastern side. Keep your camera handy because there are some fantastic photo opportunities along this route. Views of the old lava fields and all the way to the Rangipo Desert (the only desert in New Zealand), the Kaimanawa Mountains with the backdrop of the snow-capped Mt Ruapehu.

The track ventures around the foot hills of Ngauruhoe, before making its way down into a valley and then across one of the Waihohonu Stream branches. We then continue to the top of the ridge via a valley clad with beautiful beech. Waihohonu Hut is located in the following valley. The large windows of the hut allow visitors to enjoy some of the most amazing views of their surroundings while enjoying the warmth of a roaring fire to make you feel right at home.

After enjoying a delicious lunch, we then make our way to the Ohinepango freshwater springs. Enjoy the relaxing afternoon in one of the most beautiful settings in the country. As freezing cold as these spring waters are, there are those who are crazy enough to venture in for a dip!

 

Day 3Otarere Hut to Ketetahi (B,L)14kms, 5 Hours Walking

After enjoying a scrumptious cooked breakfast, we make our way along the Waihohonu stream and climb to Tama Saddle. The track ventures through some lovely native forest pockets as well as tussock fields between Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu.

From the saddle, there is an amazing side trip to two explosion craters that became filled with water and are now known as the Tama Lakes. From the Tama Lakes junction, we will continue to a lookout over the Taranaki Falls. These falls are 20m high and the water flows over an old lava flow which was the result of Mt Ruapehu’s eruptions about 15,000 years ago. Below, a pool surrounded by large boulders catches the falling water.

From here, the stroll through the beech forest and tussock meadows is relatively easy as you make your way to Whakapapa village. Here, you will be welcomed with an ice-cold beer and a much deserved celebration. Hereafter, we will take you to Whakpapa or National Park Village. These hikes, the amazing views, memories and delicious food will leave you feeling invigorated and refreshed. Your Tongariro National Park hike will prove unforgettable.

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