The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is considered to be the most stunning day walk in New Zealand. It is also incredibly popular - if you are looking to avoid the crowds, this may not be the ideal walk for you. Ask us about a walking option that will take you somewhere more out-of-the-way.
That being said, the scenery along the Crossing really is magnificent and if you leave early enough you should avoid the busiest departure time.
You can certainly undertake the Tongariro Crossing without a guide. There are shuttles that will take you from your accommodation or Whakapapa village to the Mangatepopo starting point and then back from Ketetahi, and they are well organised.
However having a guide with you is a real plus. Their knowledge and experience are invaluable for the informative narrative you’ll receive about the area’s history and cultural significance, and in terms of the extra safety, they provide.
Two different guided options are open to you. The first is with a local Kiwi guide, who will share with you their passion for the Park. They will explain in greater detail about the Park's dual World Heritage status for both natural and cultural values and all about its geothermal features with the three volcanoes, Ngauruhoe, Tongariro and Ruapehu. Tongariro, previously believed to be dormant, erupted most recently in 2012.
The second guided option, which is a little more pricey, is to be taken by a local Maori guide who will recount the legends of the Park that have been passed down by members of the Tuwharetoa Iwi (tribe) for generations.
Also, when you cover the length of track that belongs to the iwi you will notice the sign stating that walkers are not allowed to leave the main track. However, with your Maori guide, you will have permission to step off the beaten trail and visit the sacred lands of Ketetahi Springs. The springs are both visually stunning and culturally very significant for local Maori.
At Once Upon A Trip we’ve enjoyed the version with the Maori guide several times and each time has proven to be special in its own way. These privileged moments will undoubtedly make up some of the best memories from your trip.
Both guided options include return transport and a picnic lunch.
The organisation by OUAT was excellent, communication was brilliant, facilities on the Milford Track were of a high standard and Hippo Lodge in Queenstown was very good value. W... - John Dalli, AustraliaRead all reviews