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Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand Backpacks and Backpacking!

A far better backpacks and backpacking experience is the Tongariro Northern Circuit which includes the incredible Tongariro Crossing. The entire hike is nineteen+ miles (thirty four+ kilometers) primarily desert and strange volcanic scenery. You can take a side trip to a volcano or two. 3 days, and 2 nights is ideal!

The Incredible Tongariro Crossing!
The Incredible Tongariro Crossing!, backpacks backpacking

It's good for all levels of fitness and hiking ability. There is no risk of altitude sickness, since the highest elevation at Red Crater is 6,188 ft (1,886 m). December through March are the best months, though some hike the Circuit year round.

Red Crater
Red Crater, backpacks backpacking

The huts require no reservations and are first come, first served! There is no worry about the hut being full when you arrive if you carry a tent. All the hut facilities can still be used by hikers.

Backpack and Backpacking Features

Keep a look out for these:

  • walk all the way around Mt. Ngauruhoe, an active volcano

Mt. Ngauruhoe
Mt. Ngauruhoe, backpacks backpacking

  • Craters and fumaroles, boiling mud pools
  • Unique volcanic colors, strange lava features
  • Most of the circuit is not over crowded but this park attracts more than 250,000 hikers a year
  • The Emerald Lakes, astonishing water filled explosion craters

The Emerald Lakes
The Emerald Lakes, backpacks backpacking

  • The top of Mount Tongariro at 1,967 m, an easy side trip

Mount Tongariro
Mount Tongariro, backpacks backpacking

  • An active volcano, Mt. Ngauruhoe, a lengthy side trip to the top at 2,287 m. In Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings, you know it as Mt. Doom.
  • In the Oturere valley, hiking huge volcanic formations

The Oturere Valley
The Oturere Valley, backpacks backpacking

  • Tongariro reserve is a World Heritage Site
  • The best hostels in the world can be found backpacking New Zealand!

You will find here: easy to follow, well marked trail, the harsh, bleak volcanic landscape, the Maori spiritual and cultural associations. During the main New Zealand backpacking season, alpine huts have good toilet facilities, water, gas stoves, gas heating, mattresses, and beds.

Backpacks and Backpacking Experiences

Near the start, on a busy day you will see many hikers on the Devil's Staircase. Many day backpackers are under prepared. You may be called upon for First Aid. Poor visibility and strong wind may ruin this trek. If you possibly can, try another day. Be prepared for snow or rain, because weather changes fast.

The Devil's Staircase!
The Devil's Staircase, backpacks backpacking

Have enough warm clothing with you. On the trail, the few water sources all require treatment. Wear a hat, sun screen and use sunglasses. For uneven and rocky tracks, wear good sturdy hiking boots or shoes. If you are ascending Ngauruhoe, high winds can be atop Ngauruhoe even when it is calm below, consider wearing good gaiters and sturdy hiking boots (ankle turning sized rocks).

Crampons and ice axe may be needed, out of season. If you want to beat the crowds ride an early bird shuttle. In some places it can look like the moon. See the awesome power of our planet by taking your time! Don't forget your hiking poles!

Crampons And Ice Axe
Crampons And Ice Axe, backpacks backpacking

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