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How to Spend 3 Days in Tongariro National Park

How to Spend 3 Days in Tongariro National Park

Adventurous travelers who enjoy the great outdoors love the central North Island’s Tongariro National Park. Geologically important and culturally significant to the local Maori, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is like nowhere else in New Zealand. Here are some ways to spend three active days in and around the park. 

Day 1: Cycle the Ohakune Old Coach Road

The small town of Ohakune is a good place to base yourself while exploring the park. Rent a mountain bike, then head to the Old Coach Road, constructed in 1906 to connect two ends of the North Island’s main trunk railway line. Revived for recreational purposes, the trail features a cobbled road, steel viaducts, dense native bush, and views of the Central Plateau. Take your time cycling the easy-to-moderate 2.5-hour route—or walk it, if you prefer.

Day 2: Tackle the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of the most popular day hikes in the country. Your efforts are rewarded with views of the ancient volcanic landscape (including Ngauruhoe, Tongariro, and Ruapehu mountains) and bright turquoise sulfur lakes. Anyone with a moderate level of fitness can attempt the hike, but be prepared for unpredictable weather. Go independently or with a guide. 

If you’re not quite up for the full hike, shorter journeys are available. On a sunset tour, for example, you’ll get the spectacular views without the physical challenge that a full-day trek requires.

Day 3: Raft the Tongariro River

To complete an adventure activity trio, spend your third day white-water rafting on the Tongariro River. There’s a range of routes, from beginner/family-friendly to more advanced—depending on how confident you are in the water and how wet you want to get. The more advanced courses run up to 60 rapids. Trips usually depart from Taupo or Turangi, and accommodation pickups are often available from other towns in the Tongariro area. You’ll see rare birds and other animals, native bush, gorges, and more.

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8 Tours and Activities | All Tongariro National Park Tours

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Tongariro Alpine Crossing Shuttle Options

Tongariro Alpine Crossing Shuttle Options

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Trek across stark volcanic terrain on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. This independent day hike takes you past Mt Tongariro with an optional side trip to the summit of Mt Ngauruhoe, located within the World Heritage area of Tongariro National Park. You’re provided with a round-trip transfer, map and information sheet to prepare you for the 6- to 10-hour trek. Early morning shuttle service is available from your accommodation in Taupo or Turangi, or from the Base Camp or Ketetahi parking lots.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$25.90
From
$25.90

Premium Tongariro Alpine Crossing Guided Trek

Premium Tongariro Alpine Crossing Guided Trek

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49
Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing through Tongariro National Park on a full-day guided trek that explores a spectacular volcanic landscape. Cover several miles of trail as you pass volcanic craters, mountain springs, and vivid alpine lakes, with views across a range of active volcanoes. Traveling with a guide means you are fully prepared and equipped for the rugged terrain of Tongariro National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that's gorgeous under winter snows or summer wildflowers.
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  • 8 hours
From
$216.31
From
$216.31

Tongariro Self-Guided Audio Tour

Tongariro Self-Guided Audio Tour

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2
Tongariro National Park has the drama and beauty of a natural cathedral—the Maori believed that the park’s three mountains were quarreling warriors. With this tour, explore the Tongariro Passing as you would a wildly popular museum: with an audio guide. Hike while you learn about volcanic activity, the area’s craters, and Maori myths. You’ll receive a zip folder of audio files and map, but will need your own audio device.
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  • 1 to 3 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$15.29
From
$15.29
Taking safety measures

Round Trip Tongariro Crossing Shuttle from National Park

Round Trip Tongariro Crossing Shuttle from National Park

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137
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of New Zealand’s finest hikes, a 12-mile (19.4 kilometer) trail past eccentric volcanic terrain, electric green lakes, steam vents, and springs. More than 100,000 people make the trek annually, but not all of them travel with the convenience of shuttle transport. This round-trip shuttle from National Park Village takes you to the trailhead and picks you up when you’ve finished the hike—so you can savor the moment and relax on the return journey.
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  • 6 to 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$33.30
From
$33.30

2 Hour Sunset Guided Walk

2 Hour Sunset Guided Walk

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5
Home to rugged peaks, deep crater lakes, and beautiful volcanic landscapes, the Tongariro National Park ranks among the North Island’s top natural attractions. On this evening tour, follow your guide along hiking trails to Mt. Ruapehu or the Taranaki Falls, and learn of Tongariro’s rich geology. As the sun sinks on the horizon, sip a glass of New Zealand wine and soak up spectacular views over the rugged scenery.
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  • 2 hours
From
$98.67
From
$98.67

Private Sunrise Tongariro Alpine Crossing Guided Walk

Private Sunrise Tongariro Alpine Crossing Guided Walk

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The Tongariro Alpine Crossing has been called one of the greatest day walks in the world, but it can get very crowded. On this private sunrise walk, you’ll get there early enough to beat the crowds, and may even take a different route, depending on conditions. Marvel at the lunar-like volcanic landscape, an area that’s sacred to the local Maori people, without other people spoiling your view. All gear will be provided, including ice axes and crampons, if necessary.
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  • 8 hours
From
$455.39
Price varies by group size
From
$455.39
Price varies by group size

Private Mt Ngauruhoe Guided Walk

Private Mt Ngauruhoe Guided Walk

Our privately guided trips provide you with a really personal, informative and friendly experience you will never forget. For those who like a little challenge, we offer a private Mt. Ngauruhoe guided walk. The near perfect volcanic cone of Mt. Ngauruhoe entices many visitors to its summit. It is 2287m high and last erupted in 1975. This is not a track and is less stable walking than on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. There are parts of the climb that are reasonably steep up to 33° (ropes are not required) however some section to feel slightly exposed. We follow the Tongariro Alpine Crossing track up the Mangatepopo Valley to the saddle between Mt. Ngauruhoe and Mt. Tongariro (up to 2hr). Then we take a route that leads to the foot of a ridge near the centre of Mt. Ngauruhoe. We follow the rock ridge or on either side of the mountain directly up toward the summit.
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  • 8 hours
From
$455.39
Price varies by group size
From
$455.39
Price varies by group size

Mt Ruapehu Crater Lake Guided Walk

Mt Ruapehu Crater Lake Guided Walk

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3
For those who like a manageable challenge, try a guided walk to the top of Mt Ruapehu, the largest of the three volcanoes in Tongariro National Park. The walk begins at the Whakapapa Ski area at the top of the Bruce Road on Mt. Ruapehu. Enjoy lunch (included until 31 March 2021, purchase as additional from 01 April 2021 onward). on top of the North Island highest volcano from where you can gaze down into the geothermal waters of the crater lake. Please note this is not a track and is less stable walking than on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Our guides are personable, friendly, qualified and ready to guide you. Adrift provides instruction, transport, equipment and gear hire. We guide every day and guarantee trip departures with wind, rain, snow and even shine.
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  • 8 hours
From
$246.67
From
$246.67