Moonlight Tongariro Alpine Crossing

New Zealand

Join this world-renowned trek across the scenic landscapes of the North Island on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and experience the mythical landscapes that inspired the backdrop for the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Trip duration:
3 days

Challenge duration:
2 days

Challenge grade:
4/5

Departure months:
November to early May

Accommodation:
Twin-share in 3-star Lodge

Hiking the Tongariro Crossing

On this exhilarating adventure, you'll experience this heritage-listed area, hiking ancient volcanic landscapes and admiring the views of Lape Taupo and other breathtaking sections of the North Island.

Along the rocky slopes of Tongariro National Park, Lord of the Rings fans may recognise the realm of Mordor, home to the Dark Lord Sauron as well as Mt. Doom (Mt. Ngauruhoe). The eerie, yet beautiful volcanic ruins combine the mythical with the real to create an immersive atmosphere quite unlike any other.

At night, you’ll enjoy a delicious meal with your fellow teammates and fall asleep to the sound of stillness. 

HIker on Tongariro Trail, surrounded by long grassland
Aerial view of crater-like mountains with emerald lakes. Tongariro Lake

Why you'll love this adventure

  • Explore the volcanic landscapes of Tongariro alpine crossing by the light of dawn
  • Witness the sweeping vistas of the North Island’s most breathtaking spots
  • Meet like-minded people and make a difference to a cause you are passionate about

 

Trip notes

Day 1: Rotorua to Tongariro National Park

Are you ready for an epic trekking adventure? This afternoon, you’ll be collected from central Rotorua or the Rotorua Airport, to meet your team and guide before we head off on the scenic drive along the eastern shores of Lake Taupo. With clear views across the North Island’s largest lake all the way to Tongariro National Park volcanic massif, this is one drive you will not want to sleep through! Upon our arrival in the national park, we enjoy afternoon tea next to the famous Huka Falls in Taupo, before we undertake an easy 2-hour loop walk around Lake Rotopounamu, at the foot of Mt Pihanga. This evening, we settle into our accommodation in the National Park Village, with stunning views of Mt Ruapehu, before gathering at a local pub for a team welcome dinner. It’s an early night tonight, as we've got a big day ahead of us!

Transfer Time: 1 ½ hours

Trekking Distance: 5km

Meals: Dinner

Day 2: Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Today’s the big day! We’ll rise before dawn, and begin the world-renowned Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The track follows Mangatepopo Stream up the valley, climbing over a succession of old lava flows which erupted from Mt Ngauruhoe over 50 years ago. The steady climb to Mangatepopo Saddle will reward us with views of the valley. From here, the track crosses South Crater, lying in between Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe (also known as Mt Doom from Lord of the Rings).

After making a stop for a picnic breakfast on the trail, we’ll continue on to the best vantage point at Red Crater, just in time for the sun to rise over the Central Plateau. The crater is named for its Mars-like landscape and spectacular magma formations, treating us to a uniquely spiritual experience as we witness the dawning of the day in this breathtaking region of the world. We then skirt along the crater rim and drop down a short scree slope to the brilliantly-coloured, mineral-rich Emerald Lakes. After passing the Green and Blue Lakes, the track winds around the northern slopes of Mt Tongariro, giving us amazing views over Mt Taupo, the North Island’s largest lake, before our final descent.

At the end of the trail, we are rewarded with celebratory drinks. Feeling tired, but immensely proud of what we have achieved, we make an afternoon stop to soak our weary muscles in the hot pools at Tokaanu before we return to our accommodation for a final meal together.

Trekking Distance: 19.4km (7-8 hours)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Depart Tongariro National Park

Our epic Tongariro adventure has now come to a close. This morning, depart the National Park at your own leisure, taking with you lifelong memories. Note that return transport to Rotorua is not included.

Meals: None

Day 1: Rotorua to Tongariro National Park

Are you ready for an epic trekking adventure? This afternoon, you’ll be collected from central Rotorua or the Rotorua Airport, to meet your team and guide before we head off on the scenic drive along the eastern shores of Lake Taupo. With clear views across the North Island’s largest lake all the way to Tongariro National Park volcanic massif, this is one drive you will not want to sleep through! Upon our arrival in the national park, we enjoy afternoon tea next to the famous Huka Falls in Taupo, before we undertake an easy 2-hour loop walk around Lake Rotopounamu, at the foot of Mt Pihanga. This evening, we settle into our accommodation in the National Park Village, with stunning views of Mt Ruapehu, before gathering at a local pub for a team welcome dinner. It’s an early night tonight, as we've got a big day ahead of us!

Transfer Time: 1 ½ hours

Trekking Distance: 5km

Meals: Dinner

Day 2: Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Today’s the big day! We’ll rise before dawn, and begin the world-renowned Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The track follows Mangatepopo Stream up the valley, climbing over a succession of old lava flows which erupted from Mt Ngauruhoe over 50 years ago. The steady climb to Mangatepopo Saddle will reward us with views of the valley. From here, the track crosses South Crater, lying in between Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe (also known as Mt Doom from Lord of the Rings).

After making a stop for a picnic breakfast on the trail, we’ll continue on to the best vantage point at Red Crater, just in time for the sun to rise over the Central Plateau. The crater is named for its Mars-like landscape and spectacular magma formations, treating us to a uniquely spiritual experience as we witness the dawning of the day in this breathtaking region of the world. We then skirt along the crater rim and drop down a short scree slope to the brilliantly-coloured, mineral-rich Emerald Lakes. After passing the Green and Blue Lakes, the track winds around the northern slopes of Mt Tongariro, giving us amazing views over Mt Taupo, the North Island’s largest lake, before our final descent.

At the end of the trail, we are rewarded with celebratory drinks. Feeling tired, but immensely proud of what we have achieved, we make an afternoon stop to soak our weary muscles in the hot pools at Tokaanu before we return to our accommodation for a final meal together.

Trekking Distance: 19.4km (7-8 hours)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Depart Tongariro National Park

Our epic Tongariro adventure has now come to a close. This morning, depart the National Park at your own leisure, taking with you lifelong memories. Note that return transport to Rotorua is not included.

Meals: None

Frequently asked questions

Can't find the answer to your question? Get in touch via email (info@inspiredadventure.com.au) or phone (1300 905 188). We’re always here to help!

About the adventure

How challenging is this adventure?

The Alpine Crossing itself is a challenging trek and is rated 4/5. The track surface is generally well formed, some sections may be steep, undulating, rough or muddy. The treks on the other days are rated a moderate 3/5. While no extensive trekking experience is required prior to registering, our adventures are specifically designed for people who are relatively fit and willing to train. This is a physical challenge, and the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy the experience. It is essential that you prepare for this challenge, particularly with hill or stair training. We recommend that in the months leading up to your trip, you increase your physical fitness with aerobic exercise.

Who will I be travelling with? 

Our average group size at Inspired Adventures ranges from 10 to 20 people. You can be sure that you have all come together with the shared purpose of making a difference to others and having the adventure of a lifetime.

The group will be led by a local tour guide with expert knowledge of the region. Many groups will also be accompanied by an Inspired Adventures team leader or doctor to support and motivate the team. 

Where applicable, a charity representative may also join the team. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about your chosen charity and their work.

Can I join an Inspired Adventure on my own?

Of course, most people do! Throughout your adventure journey, we will connect you with your fellow adventurers so you can get to know each other before you hit the road.

What is the general age range of participants?

The minimum age for this adventure is 18, however younger ages are considered on application. We have had participants aged 16–84 take part in our challenges, all united by their sense of philanthropy and adventure.

Fitness and training

How do I train for this adventure?

We will provide you with basic information on how to prepare for your adventure when you register. We recommend that you consult your GP and a personal trainer to develop a training plan that will prepare you for the challenge.

It is sensible to start training as early as possible before you go on your trek. As part of your training, we recommend making use of your weekends to complete a full day hike and if possible, an overnight hike. You should aim to walk in hilly terrain for up to 8 hours and get up to do it again the following day comfortably. Conventional exercise routines which build strength, fitness and stamina, such as aerobics and light weight training can be beneficial, particularly if your fitness level is less than ideal.

Accommodation

What is the accommodation like?

Accommodation on this adventure is in a 3-star lodge based on twin-share. The rooms have either ensuites or shared bathrooms. The lodge has an on-site restaurant and bar, outdoor hot tubs and free guest parking.

Will I be sharing accommodation?

Accommodation on this adventure is based on twin-share. You will be paired with a teammate of the same gender and, whenever possible, age group. Single rooms are available at an additional cost and subject to availability.

I’m travelling with a friend, can we stay together?

Absolutely! If you’re travelling with a friend, please make note of this and we will pair you together.

What to expect

What are the toilets like? 

There are public toilets available every 1-2 hours along the track. You will need to carry your own toilet paper.

Are showers available? 

Yes, there are showers available at the accommodation.

What is the food like? 

Please check your trip notes for meal inclusions. On this adventure you will be served a mixture of cooked and continental breakfasts, generous picnic lunches and 2-course kiwi-style dinners. Morning and afternoon tea snacks and a selection of hot & cold drinks are available during trekking.

I have dietary requirements, will I be catered for?

Of course, we will happily arrange for any dietary requirements you’ve noted during booking to be catered for. 

What weather can I expect?

New Zealand’s alpine weather can be highly changeable. There is this old saying: “If you don’t like the weather in New Zealand, wait 10 minutes.” Even in summer you can expect heavy rain, strong wind, snow and freezing temperatures. Always prepare for wind and rain as it can, and often does, happen suddenly. As a rule of thumb, plan for all weathers. If weather conditions aren’t optimal, the itinerary may be adjusted and we will attempt it on one of our other days. Your guide is a local expert, who will follow the DOC’s forecast and recommendation and will advise you on the best conditions in which to undertake the hike.

Will I have mobile phone reception? 

Cell phone signals are often not available in the outdoors. But don’t worry - this is all part of the experience! You should have reception in National Park Village and there is free Wifi available at our accommodation.

Will I have access to electricity?

Yes, there will be power points available at the lodge. New Zealand uses the Plug Type I (two flat pins and a grounding pin) the same as in Australia.

What do I need to pack? 

You will be sent a comprehensive packing list after you register for the adventure with everything you need to consider. Our local operator offers complimentary gear hire including day packs, raincoats and walking poles. In New Zealand you must be prepared for cold conditions at any time of year – it is essential to have enough warm items. You will need to carry your full day’s water supply as the water on the trail is not suitable for drinking. Please bring your own reusable water bottle or bladder. 

What happens if there is a medical emergency?

Providing the safest possible environment is our highest priority and we have an outstanding safety record. All Inspired Adventures guides and Team Leaders are first aid trained. Our guides carry a satellite phone to be used if further assistance is required.

How will you manage the risk of COVID-19?

See the COVID-19 section of our website for full details.

Costs and payments

What’s included in the travel cost?

Package inclusions vary from trip to trip so please refer to the specific trip notes for details. 

Generally, the travel cost includes: 

  • Transfers as per itinerary
  • Accommodation in 3-star lodge based on twin-share
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • Water on trekking days
  • Professional hiking guide
  • National Park fees
  • Hot pool entry fees
  • Complimentary hire of hiking gear (by prior arrangement)

What’s not included in the travel cost?

Package exclusions vary from trip to trip so please refer to the specific trip notes for details. 

Generally, the travel cost does not include: 

  • Airfares
  • Airport transfers
  • Return transport to Rotorua City
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips and gratuities

Is the travel cost guaranteed?

We will do our best to keep the travel costs as quoted. However, please keep in mind they can change due to group size or factors out of our control. If absolutely necessary, Inspired Travel may have to add on an additional supplement fee should the current social distancing measures continue. This fee would be required if our operator needs to add on additional vehicles, equipment and/or staff.

Why do I need to pay a registration fee? 

When you register, you will be required to pay a registration fee to secure your spot on the team. From the minute you register until you return from your adventure, the team at Inspired Adventures will provide you with everything you need - including a tailored fundraising plan, fitness advice and support with your travel preparations. You will receive access to your online adventure portal complete with your own online fundraising page and lots of resources to help you along the way. Your registration fee goes towards our cost of managing the adventure and supporting you on your journey.

How much spending money do I need?

We recommend that you allow NZ$45 per day to cover any meals not included in the trip costs, souvenirs, gifts, drinks and any additional activities you may wish to participate in. It is possible to travel well on a smaller budget and you can always withdraw more money while away.

Is it customary to tip? 

Tipping is not compulsory, and you are encouraged to tip only an amount you find appropriate.

Travel insurance and visas

Do I need to have travel insurance?

Travel insurance is compulsory for non-NZ residents and highly recommended for NZ residents to cover cancellation, hospital, emergency evacuation and lost luggage. We recommend purchasing your policy as soon as possible. It is up to you to ensure you have fully comprehensive travel insurance and you will need to share these details with our team before departure. For more information, please visit www.inspiredadventures.com.au/travel-insurance-information.

Do I need a visa to travel to New Zealand?

Australian passport holders do not require a visa for entry into New Zealand. If you are travelling on a different passport or for further information, please contact the relevant embassy.

About New Zealand

When is the best time to travel to New Zealand?

If you are after those amazing shots of the lakes, craters and out of the world colours then summer is the time to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This means it is very busy but the weather is nice and stable. In order to avoid the biggest crowds we recommend undertaking this challenge in November and February through to May.

Can I drink the water in New Zealand?

Tap water in New Zealand is safe to drink and we encourage you to bring refillable water bottles or water bladder to minimise plastic waste. You can fill up before the start of the day at the hotel. The water available along the trail of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is not suitable for drinking.

About the adventure

How challenging is this adventure?

The Alpine Crossing itself is a challenging trek and is rated 4/5. The track surface is generally well formed, some sections may be steep, undulating, rough or muddy. The treks on the other days are rated a moderate 3/5. While no extensive trekking experience is required prior to registering, our adventures are specifically designed for people who are relatively fit and willing to train. This is a physical challenge, and the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy the experience. It is essential that you prepare for this challenge, particularly with hill or stair training. We recommend that in the months leading up to your trip, you increase your physical fitness with aerobic exercise.

Who will I be travelling with? 

Our average group size at Inspired Adventures ranges from 10 to 20 people. You can be sure that you have all come together with the shared purpose of making a difference to others and having the adventure of a lifetime.

The group will be led by a local tour guide with expert knowledge of the region. Many groups will also be accompanied by an Inspired Adventures team leader or doctor to support and motivate the team. 

Where applicable, a charity representative may also join the team. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about your chosen charity and their work.

Can I join an Inspired Adventure on my own?

Of course, most people do! Throughout your adventure journey, we will connect you with your fellow adventurers so you can get to know each other before you hit the road.

What is the general age range of participants?

The minimum age for this adventure is 18, however younger ages are considered on application. We have had participants aged 16–84 take part in our challenges, all united by their sense of philanthropy and adventure.

Fitness and training

How do I train for this adventure?

We will provide you with basic information on how to prepare for your adventure when you register. We recommend that you consult your GP and a personal trainer to develop a training plan that will prepare you for the challenge.

It is sensible to start training as early as possible before you go on your trek. As part of your training, we recommend making use of your weekends to complete a full day hike and if possible, an overnight hike. You should aim to walk in hilly terrain for up to 8 hours and get up to do it again the following day comfortably. Conventional exercise routines which build strength, fitness and stamina, such as aerobics and light weight training can be beneficial, particularly if your fitness level is less than ideal.

Accommodation

What is the accommodation like?

Accommodation on this adventure is in a 3-star lodge based on twin-share. The rooms have either ensuites or shared bathrooms. The lodge has an on-site restaurant and bar, outdoor hot tubs and free guest parking.

Will I be sharing accommodation?

Accommodation on this adventure is based on twin-share. You will be paired with a teammate of the same gender and, whenever possible, age group. Single rooms are available at an additional cost and subject to availability.

I’m travelling with a friend, can we stay together?

Absolutely! If you’re travelling with a friend, please make note of this and we will pair you together.

What to expect

What are the toilets like? 

There are public toilets available every 1-2 hours along the track. You will need to carry your own toilet paper.

Are showers available? 

Yes, there are showers available at the accommodation.

What is the food like? 

Please check your trip notes for meal inclusions. On this adventure you will be served a mixture of cooked and continental breakfasts, generous picnic lunches and 2-course kiwi-style dinners. Morning and afternoon tea snacks and a selection of hot & cold drinks are available during trekking.

I have dietary requirements, will I be catered for?

Of course, we will happily arrange for any dietary requirements you’ve noted during booking to be catered for. 

What weather can I expect?

New Zealand’s alpine weather can be highly changeable. There is this old saying: “If you don’t like the weather in New Zealand, wait 10 minutes.” Even in summer you can expect heavy rain, strong wind, snow and freezing temperatures. Always prepare for wind and rain as it can, and often does, happen suddenly. As a rule of thumb, plan for all weathers. If weather conditions aren’t optimal, the itinerary may be adjusted and we will attempt it on one of our other days. Your guide is a local expert, who will follow the DOC’s forecast and recommendation and will advise you on the best conditions in which to undertake the hike.

Will I have mobile phone reception? 

Cell phone signals are often not available in the outdoors. But don’t worry - this is all part of the experience! You should have reception in National Park Village and there is free Wifi available at our accommodation.

Will I have access to electricity?

Yes, there will be power points available at the lodge. New Zealand uses the Plug Type I (two flat pins and a grounding pin) the same as in Australia.

What do I need to pack? 

You will be sent a comprehensive packing list after you register for the adventure with everything you need to consider. Our local operator offers complimentary gear hire including day packs, raincoats and walking poles. In New Zealand you must be prepared for cold conditions at any time of year – it is essential to have enough warm items. You will need to carry your full day’s water supply as the water on the trail is not suitable for drinking. Please bring your own reusable water bottle or bladder. 

What happens if there is a medical emergency?

Providing the safest possible environment is our highest priority and we have an outstanding safety record. All Inspired Adventures guides and Team Leaders are first aid trained. Our guides carry a satellite phone to be used if further assistance is required.

How will you manage the risk of COVID-19?

See the COVID-19 section of our website for full details.

Costs and payments

What’s included in the travel cost?

Package inclusions vary from trip to trip so please refer to the specific trip notes for details. 

Generally, the travel cost includes: 

  • Transfers as per itinerary
  • Accommodation in 3-Star lodge based on twin-share
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • Water on trekking days
  • Professional hiking guide
  • National Park fees
  • Hot pool entry fees
  • Complimentary hire of hiking gear (by prior arrangement)

What’s not included in the travel cost?

Package exclusions vary from trip to trip so please refer to the specific trip notes for details. 

Generally, the travel cost does not include: 

  • Airfares
  • Airport transfers
  • Return transport to Rotorua City
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips and gratuities

Is the travel cost guaranteed?

We will do our best to keep the travel costs as quoted. However, please keep in mind they can change due to group size or factors out of our control. If absolutely necessary, Inspired Travel may have to add on an additional supplement fee should the current social distancing measures continue. This fee would be required if our operator needs to add on additional vehicles, equipment and/or staff.

Why do I need to pay a registration fee? 

When you register, you will be required to pay a registration fee to secure your spot on the team. From the minute you register until you return from your adventure, the team at Inspired Adventures will provide you with everything you need - including a tailored fundraising plan, fitness advice and support with your travel preparations. You will receive access to your online adventure portal complete with your own online fundraising page and lots of resources to help you along the way. Your registration fee goes towards our cost of managing the adventure and supporting you on your journey.

How much spending money do I need?

We recommend that you allow NZ$45 per day to cover any meals not included in the trip costs, souvenirs, gifts, drinks and any additional activities you may wish to participate in. It is possible to travel well on a smaller budget and you can always withdraw more money while away.

Is it customary to tip? 

Tipping is not compulsory, and you are encouraged to tip only an amount you find appropriate.

Travel insurance and visas

Do I need to have travel insurance?

Travel insurance is compulsory for non-NZ residents and highly recommended for NZ residents to cover cancellation, hospital, emergency evacuation and lost luggage. We recommend purchasing your policy as soon as possible. It is up to you to ensure you have fully comprehensive travel insurance and you will need to share these details with our team before departure. For more information, please visit www.inspiredadventures.com.au/travel-insurance-information.

Do I need a visa to travel to New Zealand?

Australian passport holders do not require a visa for entry into New Zealand. If you are travelling on a different passport or for further information, please contact the relevant embassy.

About New Zealand

When is the best time to travel to New Zealand?

If you are after those amazing shots of the lakes, craters and out of the world colours then summer is the time to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This means it is very busy but the weather is nice and stable. In order to avoid the biggest crowds we recommend undertaking this challenge in November and February through to May.

Can I drink the water in New Zealand?

Tap water in New Zealand is safe to drink and we encourage you to bring refillable water bottles or water bladder to minimise plastic waste. You can fill up before the start of the day at the hotel. The water available along the trail of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is not suitable for drinking.

All information is subject to change and will be confirmed upon your registration.

Icon-BLK-ResponsibleTravel

Responsible Travel

Caring for our adventurers, the communities we visit and the wellbeing of the planet is the heart of everything we do. This adventure is no exception.
Meaningful connections: Hear from Aranda Elders who will tell us about the history of the area.
Environment: We offset the emissions from this trip through carbon credit programs in partnership with Carbon Neutral. 
Treading lightly: Trekking is a great, low-impact way to explore.
Small group travel: Our teams consist of a maximum of 25 people. Better for you, and better for the planet.
Responsible business: We’re a certified B-Corp, committed to using business as a force for good

Icon-BLK-Safety

Safe travel and flexible bookings

Keeping you safe: We’ve developed a stringent COVID-10 Pandemic Safety Management Plan in cooperation with government guidelines, tourism boards and the advice of medical experts to minimise the risks associated with travel as best as possible.

Flexible bookings: If COVID-19 travel bans mean your Inspired Adventure cannot go ahead as scheduled, we will endeavour to reschedule the departure to a later date or you will receive a travel credit.

To learn more about our COVID-19 policy, you can see a full list of FAQs here

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