New Zealand Walking Tour:
Tongariro Crossing Walk
Rotorua to Rotorua
4 days / 3 nights
A Truly Life-Changing Experience
Experience the dramatic alpine and volcanic landscapes of World Heritage Area Tongariro National Park, with a small group and experienced local guide. Walk the unforgettable Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
Significant cultural heritage combined with arid badlands, crater lakes, sparkling rivers, breath-taking lunar landscapes, native beech forest and alpine meadows – this New Zealand walking tour is a once in a lifetime experience not to be missed!
- Stark volcanic landscapes
- Native beech forest
- Steaming crater lakes
- Alpine fields
- Great company
- Experienced attentive guide
Day 1 Arrive at Central Plateau
Location: Park Hotel
Distance: 2 hours walking, 6km
We’ll pick you up from central Rotorua City or the Rotorua Airport between 8.30am and 9.00am, or central Taupō at 10.00am, before heading south through the North Island’s geothermal heartland. We’ll skirt around the beautiful shores of Lake Taupō,the North Island’s largest lake, and then drive up through stunning native forest onto the mighty central plateau. We can also meet you in Tongariro National Park if you prefer, please just ask us for driving directions.
We’ll get our first taste of the topography and natural character of the Tongariro National Park with a 2-hour loop walk to Taranaki Falls, which is part of the Tongariro Northern Circuit Great Walk track. We’ll continue to warm-up and stretch out the legs with an easy, 20 minute walk in to see Tawhai Falls, better known as ‘Gollum’s Pool.’ If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, you’ll recognise this picturesque, 13 metre-high waterfall, where Faramir and his archers watch Gollum fish.
After settling into our cozy lodgings, we’ll share a hearty, 2-course Kiwi-style meal and a cold glass of something to toast the beginning of our Tongariro adventure as we watch the sun set over the magnificent volcanic skyline.
Day 2 Tongariro Crossing
Location: Park Hotel
Distance: 7 to 8 hours walking, 19.4km
This morning we’ll set off on one of the world’s greatest one-day hikes, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This trail leads us through an incredible variety of ethereal landscapes – lava fields, emerald coloured crater lakes, steaming vents, alpine meadows, over an alpine pass, amidst the stunning mountain peaks – there’s nothing like it anywhere else on the planet! The views across to Mt Ngauruhoe, Mt Ruapehu and the central plateau of the North Island are simply spectacular and worth every step!
After a well-deserved trail end celebration, we’ll return to our lodgings where you can revive your weary muscles in the outdoor spa pool, before meeting in the cosy lounge for pre-dinner drinks and nibbles. Tonight we head out to a lively local restaurant and bar for a casual meal with the locals.
Day 3 Old Coach Road
Location: Park Hotel
Distance: 5 hours walking, 15km
Today we travel around the southern side of Mt Ruapehu to experience some of New Zealand’s rail history on the Old Coach Road trail. Between 1906 to 1908 the road was used to carry passengers and goods by horse and coach, between two railheads on the main trunk line, and is steeped in interesting pioneering stories from the early days of New Zealand industry.
Heritage features on the trail include a unique cobbled stone road, massive steel viaducts, a curved tunnel, railway bridge remnants and old, workers campsites. The 15km walk takes around 5 hours and passes through some beautiful stands of native forest with sweeping views across the Ohakune district, known for its’ fertile soils and market gardens.
In consultation with the group, and if conditions allow, we can squeeze in some extra trails nearby or head up Bruce Road to explore the dramatic, rock-strewn landscapes higher up on Mt Ruapehu. At 2797 metres above sea level, the North Island’s highest mountain offers jaw-dropping views over the National Park with various hiking options.
Tonight we enjoy a final celebration dinner, to cap off an excellent walking adventure.
Day 4 Rainforests & Waterfalls
Distance: 3 to 4 hours walking, 7km
After a final hearty breakfast, we pack up our kit and farewell the National Park and its majestic mountains.
On our journey out of the park, we’ll finish things off with a rejuvenating hike around the glistening Lake Rotopounamu (Greenstone Lake) nestled in the side of beautiful Mt. Pihanga, a mountain maiden central to the Māori legend that describes how this area was formed.
From the carpark, we’ll make our way up a small incline to reach the lake level itself, where the track evens out to circumvent the lakeshore. We’ll enjoy our final picnic lunch on Five Minute Beach in the peace and serenity of lush, native forest.
We’ll have you safely back in Taupo between 3–4 pm or Rotorua around 5–6pm to meet your onward travel arrangements.
The 3-star Park Hotel in National Park Village.
- Rooms are studio twin or double with ensuites.
- For a private room upgrade a single supplement of $300 applies.
- All rooms have an ensuite bathroom, fridge, TV, tea & coffee facilities,
hairdryer and heating
- Drying rooms available
- On-site restaurant and bar
- Outdoor heated spa pool
An experienced guide
Our guides are very experienced, friendly walkers and bikers who love to share their knowledge of New Zealand’s flora and fauna and local history. They all hold current first aid certificates, passenger driving licences and are the very best people to ensure your experience will be one to remember.
You will enjoy great local cuisine; breakfasts and hearty packed lunches during the day, and restaurant meals in the evenings. All meals and snacks are included. Wine, beer and nonalcoholic beverages are available to be purchased during dinners.
If you have any dietary issues or food allergies, we are happy to cater for these, please advise the office of details when you make your booking. Alcohol is not included in the tour cost, but is available for purchase most nights.
Safety and Risk Management
To ensure maximum safety for all, our guides are certified first aiders and fully qualified drivers. Tuatara Tours operate under a Safety and Risk Management Plan which is regularly audited and approved by a qualified and independent auditor.
Luggage & Transfers
Your luggage is transported for the duration of the tour. All you carry is a small day pack with your personal gear, drink and lunch.