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Tongariro Alpine Crossing – shortcuts, half day option

  • 2 minutes

North Island, New Zealand

Tongariro Alpine Crossing … do what you know best.. short walks, perhaps half a day however a strenuous full day alpine hike is beyond your fitness level. Enjoy the wonder of one of New Zealand’s beautiful mountains without requiring a medical evacuation is easy, just keep on scrolling … discover Tongariro Alpine Crossing shortcuts.

With Adrift Tongariro’s guided half-day Volcanic Explorer Tour hikers (trampers) will experience sections of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing Great Walk, with the option to do the full-day Tongariro Crossing if the energy levels permits.


Self-guided short walks in the Tongariro National Park

Waterfalls, walks and a gondola ride up a mountains

Visitors do not need to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing to enjoy the magic of the Tongariro National Park. There Is the option of a stroll in the vicinity of Whakapapa National Park village.

Whakapapa Village on Mount Ruapehu Volcano, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
Whakapapa Village on Mount Ruapehu Volcano, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

All of the walks are found on State Highway 48, in the vicinity of Whakapapa Village. The walks offer a variety of scenery, from waterfalls, high altitude vegetation to avalanche debris. They are well signposted, with information panels and easy to moderate gradients.

Whakapapa Nature Walk in Tongariro National Park

The first walk is closest to the Visitor Centre, Whakapapa Nature Walk introduces the walker to the flora and fauna with on site information panels.  This walk can be completed by all fitness levels. Wheelchair accessible on a sealed loop track.

  • Length 300 metres
  • Duration 15 minutes

The Mounds Walk in Tongariro National Park

The Mounds walk is a short easy walk for children with a history of human occupation and volcanic activity.  Detailed information panels engage the walker to reassess the landscape for telltale signs of avalanche debris. There is a great photo moment of Mount Ngauruhoe at the commencement of this walk. The best position for a photo is at the top of the steps as you are elevated with soaring mountains backdropping the tundra. Not wheelchair accessible.

Mounds walk, tundra and mountains, New Zealand
Mounds walk, tundra and mountains, New Zealand
Tawhai Falls, New Zealand
Tawhai Falls, New Zealand

Tawhai Falls Walk in Tongariro National Park

Tawhai Falls walk packs a punch with mountain toatoa, beech forest, bird song and then a pretty waterfall at the end of the walk. To access the waterfalls there is a short climb over rocks slippery when wet. There are steps to the Tawhai Falls with handrails. It is a favourite spot for instagrammers due to the Gollom scene in the film Lord of the Rings.

  • Length 800 metres
  • Duration 25 minutes
  • Grade medium (steps)

… read more Tongariro National Park highlights


New Zealand mountain safety council


  • Superb video from Have you tried The Tongariro Alpine Crossing? ‘The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of the most incredible day hikes in the world. Although beautiful, it can be dangerous if you are not fully prepared to enter an alpine environment. Extreme weather, terrain and distance have resulted in this track having the highest number of search and rescues for trampers in New Zealand.’
  • Tongariro Alpine Crossing fact sheet

The top sights closeby the Tongariro Alpine Crossing include the Tongariro River trails, either hike, cycle and wander and pop into the National Trout Centre along the way. Nearby is the resort town of Taupo and it’s likely you are staying in Turangi.

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Travel pack information



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