Tongariro Northern Circuit

Winding its way past Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngāuruhoe, this Great Walk lets you explore dramatic volcanic landscapes including craters, glacial valleys, native beech forest, alpine meadows and emerald-coloured lakes in this World Heritage area.

3-4 days
Tongariro National Park, central North Island
Nearest towns
Taupō, Turangi, Ohakune, Waiouru
Nearest airport

Tongariro National Park is the closest national park to Auckland, and is very accessible from State Highway (SH1). The national park provides the backdrop for your alpine adventure with a landscape of stark contrasts and amazing views at every turn. This circular Great Walk starts near Whakapapa Village.


  • Walk across active volcanoes! The three volcanoes at the heart of the park are the mountains - Tongariro, Ngāuruhoe and Ruapehu
  • Journey to Middle Earth. Tongariro National Park provided the stunning backdrop for several filming locations for both the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies including Ithilien, Mordor and the Gates of Mordor
  • Take the turn off to Tama Lakes from the main track. The two lakes, in filled explosion craters, are named after the high chief Tamatea, who explored the area six centuries ago

Find out more in the Tongariro Northern Circuit brochure.

Things to know before you go

It is important to plan and prepare your trip and be well equipped on a Great Walk. For a full list of the equipment and preparation required for the Tongariro Northern Circuit Track, plus the latest track updates and information on getting there, please visit the Department of Conservation website.

Safety is your responsibility - It is important that you check in with the nearest DOC Visitor Centre prior to beginning your walk. For detailed safety information, including tramping conditions in New Zealand and The Outdoor Safety Code - 5 simple rules to help you stay safe - visit

Tongariro Northern Circuit image courtesy of the Department of Conservation