The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of the main attractions at the Tongariro National Park. It is one of the best tramping tracks in New Zealand owing to the landscape and views it offers.
The park is at the heart of South Island in New Zealand. It is a few kilometers to the southwest of Taupo Lake. It is 30 km south of Auckland.
What to See
The crossing crosses over the terrain of Mt Tongariro, an active volcano. It also goes by the Mt Ngauruhoe base. You can also climb this site. The walk takes a full day. It begins at Mangatepopo road and culminates at Ketatahi road.
The climb along the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is steep but exciting. There are views of beautiful lakes, the volcanic terrain and various portions of the landscape. There are a couple of huts where water is available. These are at the beginning and the end of the track.
Aside from the Crossing, you can also go on a side trip to the Ngauruhoe summit. The views here are spectacular, although navigation can be quite complex. There is also a much easier trek from Red Crater. This will lead you to the Tongariro summit.
In 1993, the park made history by becoming the first site to be included in the World Heritage List following the revamped criteria. For a long time now, the landscape and mountains have been considered holy by the Maori. For them, the landscape serves as the spiritual link between the environment and the people.
Through the works of nature, the park has produced different types of ecosystems. There are also several volcanoes, some active and some extinct. The park was set up in 1887, the first to be declared a national park in New Zealand. Aside from the crossing, the landscape is also known for its forests, herb fields and plateaus.
The shuttle service that will send you to the Whakapapa Village costs 15 USD. The shuttle service has been introduced to discourage people from crowding the Mangatepopo car park.
If you are going to visit, make sure to schedule your trip. It is very popular during the summer. Often as many as two hundred people cross it daily.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing can also be crossed during the winter. Because of snow, crampons, ice axes and other equipment are necessary. You must also have the skills necessary to traverse the terrain.