The BEST day hike in New Zealand, The Tongariro Alpine Crossing {photo diary}

 In Active Travel, Backpacking, New Zealand, North Island, Once In A Lifetime

Classed as one of the best day hikes in the world, and most certainly the best in New Zealand, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a MUST DO if you are reasonably active and want to see some of the best landscapes that New Zealand has to offer.

I completed the hike a couple of days ago {November 10th 2016} after having had it on my bucket list for a good few years. The scenes were absolutely incredible and whilst the walk itself was rather challenging, it was worth every second and every fall onto my butt.

{I spent half my day on it}

If you’re thinking about taking on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, check out my complete guide to The Tongariro Alpine Crossing here. That will assist you with preparation and successful {comfortable} completion of the track.

But if you’d just like to see the photos, get a little inspiration or see what the route entails, keep scrolling…

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing Route

Typical completion time: 7-9 hours

Distance: 19.4km

Start: Mangatepopo Valley      End: Ketetahi Road

Additional Extensions {you leave the track and then return back to it}:

Mt.Ngauruhoe aka Mt. Doom {6km return, 2287m above ground}

and

Mt. Tongariro {3km return, 1967m above ground}

A Complete Guide To The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog-37

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing {even without the extensions} gets pretty challenging at points and it was definitely harder than I first anticipated.

Here’s a little breakdown of what you encounter along the route and the time I completed it in:

  • Stage 1 – Mangatepopo to Soda Springs

Time started – 7.10am

The hike starts with a pretty easy path along the boardwalks with, already, some spectacular views thrown in.

A Complete Guide To The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog

  • Stage 2 – Soda Springs to South Crater

Time started – 8.10am

It’s time to get down to business with the Devil’s Staircase (staircase of death!)

  • (additional challenge) Begin the Mt Ngauruhoe Summit

Time started – 8.50am

When the bus driver said it was a dangerous climb… I dismissed it… only later to find, she was not kidding. At all. Watch my video here. Yup, I fell on my bum around 15 times.

A Complete Guide To The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog

  • Reach the Summit of Mt.Ngauruhoe

Time check: 10.25am

Enjoy the views (we had a snack at the top and recovered for about an hour), capture your incredible surroundings and prepare for the way down. The hard work is far from over!

We had a 25-minute recovery at the bottom too, to empty shoes and get a snack.

A Complete Guide To The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Adventure Lifestyle BlogA Complete Guide To The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog-6A Complete Guide To The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Adventure Lifestyle BlogA Complete Guide To The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog-35

  • Stage 3 – South Crater to the base of Red Crater Ridge

Time started –  12.25pm

A Complete Guide To The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog-21

  • Stage 4 – Red Crater Ridge

Time started – 1.35pm

This is the steepest part of the original track. Winds can get strong so don’t veer off the path or near the edge.

Take caution and make sure you have the correct footwear to assist you.

Check out my Guide To The Tongariro Crossing here.

A Complete Guide To The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog

  • (additional challenge) Ascend to Mt. Tongariro

You most likely won’t have the time or energy to do this and Mt. Nhauruhoe, so pick between the two (this one is easier, but still leave 3 hours to return).

  • Stage 5 – Red Crater to Emerald Lakes

Time started – 2pm

The scree is similar to that on Mt Ngauruhoe: footing is easily lost and very challenging. Another point: walking boots are appreciated.

A Complete Guide To The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog

 

  • Stage 6 – Emerald lakes to Blue Lake

Time started – 2.15pm

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  • Stage 7 – Blue Lake to finish!

Time started – 2.30pm

Don’t get too excited. There are still 3 hours of walking to do! In an hour you’ll pass Ketekahi Shelter where there are some toilets and then it’s time for the never ending path…

FINISH LINE!

Completion time – 4.50pm

We completed the route {with the addition of Mount. Doom} in, just shy of 10 hours!

Safe to say we had a big dinner and beer to celebrate a truly epic day!

Have any of you guys done the Tongariro Alpine Crossing?

I’d love to hear what you thought!

Thank YOU guys for reading <3

Love as always + happy adventuring,

Mollie x

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I can’t do this without you <3

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