Whanganui

Whanganui

Tongariro Alpine Crossing - OPEN

Northern Start
End of Ketetahi Road, Tongariro National Park
Southern End
Mangatepopo Track Turnoff, Tongariro National Park
Distance
17.5km
Time
6-8hr
Track Standard
Road margin   Footpath   Easy tramping track   Tramping track   Route   Mixed grade  
Potential Hazards
  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold
  • Weather extremes This is an alpine crossing and weather conditions can turn dangerous very quickly. Always check the weather forecast and take local advice. Always carry warm and wind-proof clothing! Pole route markers may be difficult to see in foggy conditions.
  • Stay alert for volcanic activity
Description
(North to South)

Potential hazards: This is an alpine crossing and weather conditions can turn dangerous very quickly. Always check the weather forecast and take local advice. Always carry extra warm, wind-proof clothing, safety & navigational equipment. Pole route markers may be difficult to see in foggy conditions. 

Water from the upper Mangatepopo stream, Emerald Lakes and Ketetahi Springs is not suitable for drinking due to the high mineral content. Treat ALL water in the Park.
 
Winter tramping: Be fully equipped with ice axe, crampons, avalanche probe/snow shovel/transceiver.
 
NO dogs, horses, guns or bikes.
 
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing track passes over varied and spectacular volcanic terrain. A cold mountain spring, lava flows, an active crater, steam vents, emerald-coloured lakes and magnificent views combine to make this challenging, enjoyable and memorable hike.

Note: Te Araroa track descriptions work from North to South whereas DOC encourages trampers to walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in the other direction – from South to North.  So be aware, the crossing is a very popular tramp and following these instructions, you will be going against the tide.

From the Ketetahi Road end, the track goes through a cool podocarp-hardwood forest which is a relaxed contrast to the coming long ascent to the Ketetahi Shelter. The track travels alongside a stream polluted with minerals from Ketetahi Springs and, at two points, passes over the tongue of a lava flow from Te Maari Crater.
From the forest bush line, the track winds its way up and up and up, through tussock slopes past the Ketetahi Springs to the Ketetahi Shelter.

Note: The Ketetahi Springs are on private land. The Ketetahi Trust, representing the landowners, has given permission for trekkers to cross part of their land but this does not include access to Ketetahi Springs. Please respect this restraint and follow the poled route.

From the Ketetahi Shelter, the track ascends further before sidling down around the flanks of North Crater to the Blue Lake and over the Mars-like Central Crater. Then it’s past the three water-filled explosion craters called the Emerald Lakes; their brilliant greenish colour is caused by minerals which have leached from the adjoining thermal area. (The Tongariro Northern Circuit track to Oturere Hut branches off to the left at the lowest lake).

Taking care on the loose stones and gravel on the track as you ascend steeply to the summit of Red Crater (1886 metres), the highest point on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. From there, you can get views of Mt Tongariro and a side trip can be taken along a poled route leading to its summit (2hr return).  You can also smell the sulphur, evidence that Red Crater is still active.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing track then continues along a poled route down the ridge leading to South Crater. For the fit and enthusiastic, Mt Ngauruhoe can be climbed as a three-hour return side trip from here. A poled route leads off the main track to the base of Ngauruhoe; from there the route follows a rock ridge directly uphill toward the summit. This route is not marked.

From Mangatepopo Saddle between Mount’s Ngauruhoe and Tongariro, you can be rewarded, on a clear day, by views of Mt Taranaki to the west. Then it’s a steep descent (down the Devil’s Staircase) to the head of the Mangatepopo Valley where a short side track leads to Soda Springs. The track then makes its way down the Mangatepopo Valley, at a gentle gradient alongside a stream and around the edges of old lava flows.

For Te Araroa through walkers, the turnoff to the Mangatepopo Track is 200m further on from the Mangatepopo Hut side track. 
The carpark at Mangatepopo Road is 1km (15min) from the Mangatepopo Track turnoff.
 

Note: Map is indicative only
Extra Info
YHA Ohakune Station Lodge, 60 Thames St, Ohakune - P: 06 3858797 E: ohakune@yha.co.nz

For those taking a modified route, YHA Ohakune Station Lodge is a 1906 historical villa located in the beautiful alpine town of Ohakune, adjacent to the world-renowned Tongariro National Park. Guests enjoy the use of extensive facilities including shared and private rooms, full kitchen amenities and two lounges. During the brilliant Central Plateau summers, the outdoor woodfire pizza oven is fired up. Guests can enjoy friendly games of cricket or simply relax on the verandas overlooking the peaceful native gardens, while taking in the views of Mt Ruapehu.


Getting to/from the start
The Whanganui regions starts at the carpark at the northern end of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, 1km off SH 46, Tongariro National Park.

InterCity - P: 09 583 5780 - E: info@intercity.co.nz
Naked Bus - P: 0900 62533 (calls cost)
Magic Bus - P: 09 358 5600 - Destinations include Taupo, Waitomo Caves, National Park, Wellington
Daily Overlander Rail service - between Auckland and Wellington - Departs Ruapehu St, National Park
 
Local transport / Shuttle Services
There are several shuttle companies providing morning pick ups from nearby towns and delivery to the track start, i.e National Park, Ohakune, Turangi and Taupo. They include:
Tongariro Expeditions - Shuttle service to the Tongariro Crossing - P: 07 377 0435 - E: info@tongariroexpeditions.com (to/from Taupo, Turangi, Ketetahi, Whakapapa) - Multiple return times from  the Northern end of the track (6 kms from the Holiday Park).
Tongariro Alpine Hot Bus - P: 0508 468 287 - E: bookings@alpinehotbus.cop.nz - W: www.alpinehotbus.co.nz
Mountain Shuttle - (door to door shuttle from Turangi, Tokaanu, Whakapapa & Ketetahi) - P: 0800 11 76 86 freephone 
Matai Shuttles Transport - 61 Clyde St, Ohakune - P: 06 385 8724 - E: mataishuttles@xtra.co.nz 
Mountain Shuttle - (door to door shuttle from Turangi, Tokaanu, Whakapapa & Ketetahi) - P: 0800 11 76 86 freephone 
 
It is recommended to use a shuttle rather than private vehicle as parking is very limited and there can be extensive delays on the road.
 
Accommodation en route
DOC Ketetahi Shelter - due to extensive damage in the 2012 eruption this is no longer a hut. Toilets are available but there is no longer a water supply and no accommodation.
DOC Mangatepopo Hut - needs to be booked online or by visiting/phoning any DOC Visitor Centre. 20 Bunks, heating and gas in peak season. Topo50 map sheet BH36, E1824389, N5663908
 
Getting from the end
The Whanganui section of Te Araroa ends at the township of Bulls. It is on the main State Highway 1 so is well serviced by long haul buses, as above.
 
Essential Gear List 
  • Consider a compass and map (in poor visibility)
  • Waterproof raincoat and over-trousers
  • Warm woollen or polypropylene clothing
  • Woollen hat and mittens
  • Sturdy boots (Sports trainers/running shoes and sandals are NOT considered suitable)
  • Food and drink
  • First Aid Kit
  • Suncream, sun hat and sunglasses
Water
Water from the upper Mangatepopo stream, Emerald Lakes and Ketetahi Springs is not suitable for drinking due to high mineral content. There is no drinkable water available between the head of the Mangatepopo Valley and Mangatepopo Hut. Respect the water supply at Mangatepopo Hut as this is limited and is the supply for those staying at the Hut.Treat all water in the Park.
 
Winter Tramping:
  • Ice axe and crampons (and know how to use them)
  • Snow gaiters
  • Avalanche probe/snow shovel in winter
  • Avalanche transceiver
Flora & Fauna
The Soda Springs are an oasis for the moisture loving yellow buttercups and white foxgloves. The porous surface of new lava, its blacker colour absorbing much of the sun’s heat, is a harsh environment for plants. Simple colonising mosses and lichens are the first to establish, followed years later by successively larger plants each taking advantage of the slow build up of precious soil. This succession of plant communities is evident on the lava flows of varying ages that have flowed from the crater of Ngauruhoe.
Requirements
  • Keep to the track
  • Respect private land
  • No dogs
  • No horses
  • No firearms
  • No bikes
  • No taking plants
Environment
  • Take all rubbish with you
  • Use toilets provided
Amenities
(Start)
  • Car park
  • Toilets
  • Information board
Amenities
(On Route)
  • Toilets Ketetahi Shelter, near Soda Springs and at Mangatepopo Hut.
  • Accommodation at DOC's Mangatepopo Hut
Amenities
(End)
  • Carpark
  • Toilets
  • Information board
Closest Town(s)
National Park, Turangi or Taumarunui
Managed by
DOC Ruapehu
Contact
Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre - Whakapapa Village, State Highway 48, Mount Ruapehu. Phone: +64 7 892 3729
Northern Start
End of Ketetahi Road, Tongariro National Park
Southern End
Mangatepopo Track Turnoff, Tongariro National Park
Distance
17.5km
Time
6-8hr
Track Standard
Road margin   Footpath   Easy tramping track   Tramping track   Route   Mixed grade  
Description
(North to South)

Potential hazards: This is an alpine crossing and weather conditions can turn dangerous very quickly. Always check the weather forecast and take local advice. Always carry extra warm, wind-proof clothing, safety & navigational equipment. Pole route markers may be difficult to see in foggy conditions. 

Water from the upper Mangatepopo stream, Emerald Lakes and Ketetahi Springs is not suitable for drinking due to the high mineral content. Treat ALL water in the Park.
 
Winter tramping: Be fully equipped with ice axe, crampons, avalanche probe/snow shovel/transceiver.
 
NO dogs, horses, guns or bikes.
 
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing track passes over varied and spectacular volcanic terrain. A cold mountain spring, lava flows, an active crater, steam vents, emerald-coloured lakes and magnificent views combine to make this challenging, enjoyable and memorable hike.

Note: Te Araroa track descriptions work from North to South whereas DOC encourages trampers to walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in the other direction – from South to North.  So be aware, the crossing is a very popular tramp and following these instructions, you will be going against the tide.

From the Ketetahi Road end, the track goes through a cool podocarp-hardwood forest which is a relaxed contrast to the coming long ascent to the Ketetahi Shelter. The track travels alongside a stream polluted with minerals from Ketetahi Springs and, at two points, passes over the tongue of a lava flow from Te Maari Crater.
From the forest bush line, the track winds its way up and up and up, through tussock slopes past the Ketetahi Springs to the Ketetahi Shelter.

Note: The Ketetahi Springs are on private land. The Ketetahi Trust, representing the landowners, has given permission for trekkers to cross part of their land but this does not include access to Ketetahi Springs. Please respect this restraint and follow the poled route.

From the Ketetahi Shelter, the track ascends further before sidling down around the flanks of North Crater to the Blue Lake and over the Mars-like Central Crater. Then it’s past the three water-filled explosion craters called the Emerald Lakes; their brilliant greenish colour is caused by minerals which have leached from the adjoining thermal area. (The Tongariro Northern Circuit track to Oturere Hut branches off to the left at the lowest lake).

Taking care on the loose stones and gravel on the track as you ascend steeply to the summit of Red Crater (1886 metres), the highest point on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. From there, you can get views of Mt Tongariro and a side trip can be taken along a poled route leading to its summit (2hr return).  You can also smell the sulphur, evidence that Red Crater is still active.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing track then continues along a poled route down the ridge leading to South Crater. For the fit and enthusiastic, Mt Ngauruhoe can be climbed as a three-hour return side trip from here. A poled route leads off the main track to the base of Ngauruhoe; from there the route follows a rock ridge directly uphill toward the summit. This route is not marked.

From Mangatepopo Saddle between Mount’s Ngauruhoe and Tongariro, you can be rewarded, on a clear day, by views of Mt Taranaki to the west. Then it’s a steep descent (down the Devil’s Staircase) to the head of the Mangatepopo Valley where a short side track leads to Soda Springs. The track then makes its way down the Mangatepopo Valley, at a gentle gradient alongside a stream and around the edges of old lava flows.

For Te Araroa through walkers, the turnoff to the Mangatepopo Track is 200m further on from the Mangatepopo Hut side track. 
The carpark at Mangatepopo Road is 1km (15min) from the Mangatepopo Track turnoff.
 

Potential Hazards
  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold
  • Weather extremes This is an alpine crossing and weather conditions can turn dangerous very quickly. Always check the weather forecast and take local advice. Always carry warm and wind-proof clothing! Pole route markers may be difficult to see in foggy conditions.
  • Stay alert for volcanic activity
Description
(North to South)

Potential hazards: This is an alpine crossing and weather conditions can turn dangerous very quickly. Always check the weather forecast and take local advice. Always carry extra warm, wind-proof clothing, safety & navigational equipment. Pole route markers may be difficult to see in foggy conditions. 

Water from the upper Mangatepopo stream, Emerald Lakes and Ketetahi Springs is not suitable for drinking due to the high mineral content. Treat ALL water in the Park.
 
Winter tramping: Be fully equipped with ice axe, crampons, avalanche probe/snow shovel/transceiver.
 
NO dogs, horses, guns or bikes.
 
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing track passes over varied and spectacular volcanic terrain. A cold mountain spring, lava flows, an active crater, steam vents, emerald-coloured lakes and magnificent views combine to make this challenging, enjoyable and memorable hike.

Note: Te Araroa track descriptions work from North to South whereas DOC encourages trampers to walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in the other direction – from South to North.  So be aware, the crossing is a very popular tramp and following these instructions, you will be going against the tide.

From the Ketetahi Road end, the track goes through a cool podocarp-hardwood forest which is a relaxed contrast to the coming long ascent to the Ketetahi Shelter. The track travels alongside a stream polluted with minerals from Ketetahi Springs and, at two points, passes over the tongue of a lava flow from Te Maari Crater.
From the forest bush line, the track winds its way up and up and up, through tussock slopes past the Ketetahi Springs to the Ketetahi Shelter.

Note: The Ketetahi Springs are on private land. The Ketetahi Trust, representing the landowners, has given permission for trekkers to cross part of their land but this does not include access to Ketetahi Springs. Please respect this restraint and follow the poled route.

From the Ketetahi Shelter, the track ascends further before sidling down around the flanks of North Crater to the Blue Lake and over the Mars-like Central Crater. Then it’s past the three water-filled explosion craters called the Emerald Lakes; their brilliant greenish colour is caused by minerals which have leached from the adjoining thermal area. (The Tongariro Northern Circuit track to Oturere Hut branches off to the left at the lowest lake).

Taking care on the loose stones and gravel on the track as you ascend steeply to the summit of Red Crater (1886 metres), the highest point on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. From there, you can get views of Mt Tongariro and a side trip can be taken along a poled route leading to its summit (2hr return).  You can also smell the sulphur, evidence that Red Crater is still active.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing track then continues along a poled route down the ridge leading to South Crater. For the fit and enthusiastic, Mt Ngauruhoe can be climbed as a three-hour return side trip from here. A poled route leads off the main track to the base of Ngauruhoe; from there the route follows a rock ridge directly uphill toward the summit. This route is not marked.

From Mangatepopo Saddle between Mount’s Ngauruhoe and Tongariro, you can be rewarded, on a clear day, by views of Mt Taranaki to the west. Then it’s a steep descent (down the Devil’s Staircase) to the head of the Mangatepopo Valley where a short side track leads to Soda Springs. The track then makes its way down the Mangatepopo Valley, at a gentle gradient alongside a stream and around the edges of old lava flows.

For Te Araroa through walkers, the turnoff to the Mangatepopo Track is 200m further on from the Mangatepopo Hut side track. 
The carpark at Mangatepopo Road is 1km (15min) from the Mangatepopo Track turnoff.
 

Note: Map is indicative only
Extra Info
YHA Ohakune Station Lodge, 60 Thames St, Ohakune - P: 06 3858797 E: ohakune@yha.co.nz

For those taking a modified route, YHA Ohakune Station Lodge is a 1906 historical villa located in the beautiful alpine town of Ohakune, adjacent to the world-renowned Tongariro National Park. Guests enjoy the use of extensive facilities including shared and private rooms, full kitchen amenities and two lounges. During the brilliant Central Plateau summers, the outdoor woodfire pizza oven is fired up. Guests can enjoy friendly games of cricket or simply relax on the verandas overlooking the peaceful native gardens, while taking in the views of Mt Ruapehu.


Getting to/from the start
The Whanganui regions starts at the carpark at the northern end of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, 1km off SH 46, Tongariro National Park.

InterCity - P: 09 583 5780 - E: info@intercity.co.nz
Naked Bus - P: 0900 62533 (calls cost)
Magic Bus - P: 09 358 5600 - Destinations include Taupo, Waitomo Caves, National Park, Wellington
Daily Overlander Rail service - between Auckland and Wellington - Departs Ruapehu St, National Park
 
Local transport / Shuttle Services
There are several shuttle companies providing morning pick ups from nearby towns and delivery to the track start, i.e National Park, Ohakune, Turangi and Taupo. They include:
Tongariro Expeditions - Shuttle service to the Tongariro Crossing - P: 07 377 0435 - E: info@tongariroexpeditions.com (to/from Taupo, Turangi, Ketetahi, Whakapapa) - Multiple return times from  the Northern end of the track (6 kms from the Holiday Park).
Tongariro Alpine Hot Bus - P: 0508 468 287 - E: bookings@alpinehotbus.cop.nz - W: www.alpinehotbus.co.nz
Mountain Shuttle - (door to door shuttle from Turangi, Tokaanu, Whakapapa & Ketetahi) - P: 0800 11 76 86 freephone 
Matai Shuttles Transport - 61 Clyde St, Ohakune - P: 06 385 8724 - E: mataishuttles@xtra.co.nz 
Mountain Shuttle - (door to door shuttle from Turangi, Tokaanu, Whakapapa & Ketetahi) - P: 0800 11 76 86 freephone 
 
It is recommended to use a shuttle rather than private vehicle as parking is very limited and there can be extensive delays on the road.
 
Accommodation en route
DOC Ketetahi Shelter - due to extensive damage in the 2012 eruption this is no longer a hut. Toilets are available but there is no longer a water supply and no accommodation.
DOC Mangatepopo Hut - needs to be booked online or by visiting/phoning any DOC Visitor Centre. 20 Bunks, heating and gas in peak season. Topo50 map sheet BH36, E1824389, N5663908
 
Getting from the end
The Whanganui section of Te Araroa ends at the township of Bulls. It is on the main State Highway 1 so is well serviced by long haul buses, as above.
 
Essential Gear List 
  • Consider a compass and map (in poor visibility)
  • Waterproof raincoat and over-trousers
  • Warm woollen or polypropylene clothing
  • Woollen hat and mittens
  • Sturdy boots (Sports trainers/running shoes and sandals are NOT considered suitable)
  • Food and drink
  • First Aid Kit
  • Suncream, sun hat and sunglasses
Water
Water from the upper Mangatepopo stream, Emerald Lakes and Ketetahi Springs is not suitable for drinking due to high mineral content. There is no drinkable water available between the head of the Mangatepopo Valley and Mangatepopo Hut. Respect the water supply at Mangatepopo Hut as this is limited and is the supply for those staying at the Hut.Treat all water in the Park.
 
Winter Tramping:
  • Ice axe and crampons (and know how to use them)
  • Snow gaiters
  • Avalanche probe/snow shovel in winter
  • Avalanche transceiver
Flora & Fauna
The Soda Springs are an oasis for the moisture loving yellow buttercups and white foxgloves. The porous surface of new lava, its blacker colour absorbing much of the sun’s heat, is a harsh environment for plants. Simple colonising mosses and lichens are the first to establish, followed years later by successively larger plants each taking advantage of the slow build up of precious soil. This succession of plant communities is evident on the lava flows of varying ages that have flowed from the crater of Ngauruhoe.
Requirements
  • Keep to the track
  • Respect private land
  • No dogs
  • No horses
  • No firearms
  • No bikes
  • No taking plants
Environment
  • Take all rubbish with you
  • Use toilets provided
Amenities
(Start)
  • Car park
  • Toilets
  • Information board
Amenities
(On Route)
  • Toilets Ketetahi Shelter, near Soda Springs and at Mangatepopo Hut.
  • Accommodation at DOC's Mangatepopo Hut
Amenities
(End)
  • Carpark
  • Toilets
  • Information board
Closest Town(s)
National Park, Turangi or Taumarunui
Managed by
DOC Ruapehu
Contact
Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre - Whakapapa Village, State Highway 48, Mount Ruapehu. Phone: +64 7 892 3729