Please note: DOC is introducing a booking system for the 2023/2024 season, where visitors using any part of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing track should reserve slots in advance. More info here.




  • Tongariro Alpine Crossing
  • Taranaki, Tawhai & Waitonga Falls
  • Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, Tongariro volcanoes


  • by car:

    12min drive from Whakapapa village



  • by car:

    4 hour 30 min to 5 hour drive from Auckland or Wellington to Whakapapa village

  • by bus:

    Shuttles available to and from the National park

Centred upon three volcanoes - Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu - Tongariro National Park is home to some of New Zealand’s most dramatic landscapes.

For the latest information on access to Tongariro National Park please refer to the Department of Conservation's Tongariro Facebook page. 

If you are wondering if the Tongariro National Park is worth the visit, wonder no more. The park will reward you with unparalleled beauty which will delight hikers as well as nature enthusiasts on the hunt for sites to remember for a lifetime.

From the iconic Tongariro Crossing to the tranquil Taranaki falls, each section of the park is enchanting.

Makatote Viaduct, Tongariro National Park, Ruapehu

What makes Tongariro National Park so special?

Tongariro became New Zealand’s first national park in 1887. Just over 100 years later, the park was awarded dual UNESCO World Heritage status for both its cultural significance to Māori, as well as its outstanding natural features. It is one of only three World Heritage sites in Aotearoa New Zealand, and it was the first in the world to be given Dual World Heritage status.

The 80,000-hectare park is a testament to nature’s artistic brilliance, showcasing of volcanic wonders including emerald lakes, old lava flows, steaming craters, colourful silica terraces and peculiar alpine gardens. It is an environment of staggering beauty and diversity.

Tongariro National Park volcanoes

Three volcanoes – Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro – mark the southern limits of the Taupō Volcanic Zone, the horseshoe-shaped series of volcanic phenomena that make up the Pacific Ocean’s ‘Ring of Fire’.

Volcanic activity started here around two million years ago and continues to this day. Ruapehu and Tongariro, which date back before the last ice age, are two of the most active composite volcanoes in the world, with Ruapehu last erupting in 1996. Ngauruhoe – geologically considered a ‘vent’ – last erupted in 1975.

Before you venture into Tongariro National Park it's essential to check the current volcanic activity. 

Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Ruapehu

Exploring the park

How long does it take to hike? 

Many trails are available, and the time required varies, depending on which trail you choose.

The famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing – 1 day, 19.4kms, intermediate.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a full day journey that will recompense you with vibrant crater lakes, lunar landscapes, and steaming vents.

Please note: from 1st October 2023, a booking system will be in place for visitors to the park planning a trip after the 14th October 2023. More information here.

Taranaki Falls Track– half a day, 6kms loop, two hours, easy.

If you’re after a shorter adventure, you can wonder around the Taranaki Falls loop track(opens in new window) forstunning mountain views, tranquil streams, lush forests and cascading waterfalls.

Silica Rapids Track – half a day, 7 kms loop, 2.5 hours, easy.

The Silica Rapids track(opens in new window) is a hidden gem that will delight visitors with the park’s splendour. Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and unique flora and fauna.

Admire stunning mountains views, waterfalls, and streams before reaching the Silica Rapids. Informative signage is available to explain the geological phenomenon behind the formation of the rapids, and their unusual colour (golden and red). For the latest informaton on the track, visit the Department of Conservation website(opens in new window).

Tongariro Northern Circuit – overnight hike - 4 days, 45kms loop, intermediate.

The Tongariro Northern Circuit is best experienced in the Great Walks season (from late October to late April), with more facilities and less hazards encounters along the way. Note that bookings are required for huts and campsites.

Outside of the Great Walks season, only experienced and equipped hikers should venture on the track as facilities are reduced and the likelihood of hazards is increased.

Visit DOC (opens in new window)for more information on the track and plan your expedition. You can also consult the comprehensive track brochure(opens in new window).

Round the Mountain track – overnight hike - 6 days, 66kms loop, advanced.

The Round the Mountain track is best suited to advanced hikers. Six huts can be found along the way with some huts requireing booking, so ensure you book these in advance. In the winter, the track should only be attempted by equipped and experienced hikers with higher chances of hazards.

While this track is the most challenging, it will reward you with spectacular sights with a great variety of landscaped including waterfalls, gorges, mountain forests, and volcanic terrain.

Make sure you are well prepared. Visit DOC’s page(opens in new window) to find detailed information on the track, as well as the latest potential alerts.


Find more walks here

Waitonga Falls track, Ruapehu

Be prepared

  • With adequate clothing, equipment and experience, visitors can enjoy the park at any time of year
  • Before departing on a walk, check at the Department of Conservation Visitor Centre for up-to-date information on weather, volcanic activity and track conditions. You can also consult the Tongariro National Park weather forecast(opens in new window) on NIWA’s website, the NZ Avalanche Advisory report(opens in new window) as well as check the volcanic risk report(opens in new window)
  • Fill in an intention form at the Department of Conservation Visitor Centre if you plan to overnight in a hikers' hut
  • Take sunscreen and sunglasses, summer or winter
  • When packing for an adventure in the park, be prepared for all weather eventualities.

Follow the Land Safety Code(opens in new window) at all times and take the Tiaki promise to care for New Zealand for future generations and protect our taonga (treasure).

Important updates for visitors planning to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro and DOC want to ensure the experience of walking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (TAC) protects the fragile environment, is safe, respects the cultural significance of the area, and is sustainable. A new process has been implemented, as per the following: 

  • DOC introduced a booking system for the 2023/2024 season, where visitors using any part of the track should reserve slots in advance.
  • Bookings are strongly encouraged and are required for booking a shuttle or guided walk.
  • The booking system is now live for bookings 14 October 2023 onwards. You can book here(opens in new window).
  • Visitors who have a Tongariro Northern Circuit hut or campsite booking are exempt from booking through the new system.
  • Visitors can ask staff at any visitor centre to make a booking for them. Visitors will also be able to book a new date if they need to.

The booking system will allow DOC to communicate directly with visitors to Tongariro.

Book your hike

Where to stay 

The walk known as the Tongariro Northern Circuit is served by four Department of Conservation(opens in new window) ‘Great Walk’ huts. DOC also has a number of 'Serviced' and 'Basic' huts in other parts of the park.

Inside the national park boundary, Whakapapa Village has a range of accommodation including campsites, lodges and motels.

Various types of accommodation can be found in and around the nearby towns of Tūrangi, National Park Village and Ohakune, Raetihi, Taumarunui.

Whatever kind of accommodation you choose, it will pay to book in advance during peak season (December to March).

Getting here

There are many ways to get to the park:


DOC encourages visitors doing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing to book a shuttle or arrange for someone to drop them off and pick them up, because the Tongariro Alpine Crossing takes 7-8 hours to walk and ends on the other side of the mountain.

Shuttles are available to and from the park to the main towns nearby. Shuttle include connections to and from Whakapapa village, Ohakune, Taumarunui, Whakapapa Village and Tūrangi and Taupō. They can be booked at a visitor centre (isite) or online(opens in new window). They can also be arranged with accommodation providers.


The park is located near many alpine towns. The main entrance to the park is Whakapapa village, located west of the park, near Whakapapa ski field. The town of Ohakune is located south of the park, near Tūroa ski field. Parking space at the Mangatepopo and Ketetahi carparks is limited, first come first served and cannot be booked. There are 4 hour parking restrictions in place and rangers check compliance from Labour weekend in October until May each year.


The nearest airport to the park is Taupō, located 1 hour and 20 minute drive from Whakapapa village. You can easily combine your trip to the park with a break in Taupō(opens in new window).

Explore Tongariro National Park

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