3 Day Northern Circuit Guided Walk

The Northern Circuit is a 3-day tramp starting on Mt Ruapehu and encircles Mt Ngauruhoe. The circuit can be started from different points and walked in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing track, explosion craters, lava flows, Tama Lakes, Taranaki Falls and the Rangipo and Otarere deserts, are explored on this trek.

This trek is a good way to enjoy the Tongariro National Park at a less energetic pace, whilst avoiding the crowds of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Mt Ngauruhoe had sporadic action during its last eruptions of 1973-1975. Since 1839, Ngauruhoe has erupted 61 times with breaks lasting no more than nine years (until 1975), and it is this regular activity that formed the perfect symmetry of its cone shape. 

You will be required to carry minimal group equipment along with your own personal gear unless you request a porter (additional charge applies). Your backpack should not be carrying more than 10-12kg in weight.

Got any questions?  CLICK HERE to contact us.

Price includes

Guide/s, return transfers from the Adrift Tongariro base, Department of Conservation hut or camping passes, all meals, nourishments and basic needs whilst on tour. Adrift Tongariro also provide all cooking and camping equipment. 

Adrift Tongariro has available for hire equipment, footwear and clothing to supplement that which you don’t have and need including sleeping bags, liners and backpacks.

Additional porters can be arranged so that you carry a day pack only. 

Pick up / Drop off: 

Tour starts and finishes at the Adrift Tongariro Base. Trip departures available all year on application and confirmation.

Pick up: Summer: 8:00am / Winter: 7:00am 

Drop off: 5:30pm

•  All times are approximate

•  Summer 1 October - 30 April, Winter 1 May - 30 September

•  Return transfers from the Adrift Tongariro base (53 Carroll St, National Park Village) are included in the price. 


Gear List

Walking boots, socks (2 pairs), walking pants or shorts (not jeans), a waterproof rain jacket, 2-3 thermal or fleece tops, 50L backpack, 1.5L water container, walking poles (optional), sun hat, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, suntan lotion, personal medical needs including blister tape and toiletries and personals for 3 days. For the hut at night: Sleeping bag, 1 set of spare pants, top and light footwear (crocs), head torch, a small book, cards or other if you want to relax at night. 

Please be careful not to pack too much but please feel free to bring with you what you think you may need and we can scrutinise and advise that which we think is superfluous to requirements.


Gear For Hire 

Adrift Tongariro has available for hire equipment, footwear and clothing to supplement that which you don’t have and need including boots, socks, thermal longs, fleece longs, waterproof pants, thermal tops, fleece tops, waterproof tops, warm gloves, warm hats, sun hats, sunglasses, backpacks, walking poles and sleeping bags and liners.

Route Description

Below is the route I find my clients enjoy the most but is a template only and is changed continually depending on the weather conditions and what you want to see achieve and enjoy .

Day 1

Start at Whakapapa Village and head for the Tama Saddle and then onto the Waihohonu Hut (6 hours approx). En-route is the Tama Lakes and Taranaki Falls.

Day 2

Waihohonu Hut to the Oturere Hut. Approximately 3-4 hours on the eastern flanks of Tongariro. This is a relatively easy day and is a welcome rest after yesterday which some see as requiring an intermediate level of effort. We can rest and enjoy the leisurely pace or go exploring in the Otarere Desert where fossilised charcoaled remnants of the forest destroyed by the great eruption of Lake Taupo in 186 AD, can easily be found. 

Day 3

Otarere Hut up to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and North to Ketetahi. This is a 6-7 hour day where we climb up to the Red Crater on the Tongariro Crossing and then descend to Mangatepopo, following the traditional Tongariro Alpine Crossing route. This leg covers the famous scenery spots of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing including Red Crater and the Emerald and Blue Lakes.


How To Make a Booking

Before making a booking, read all the terms & conditions

There are three ways to make a booking. Please choose the option that best suits you.

  1. Book on-line with the Book-it button shown on each web page. Follow the simple instructions. 
  2. By telephone for personal service. A credit card number will be required to confirm your booking. 
  3. By email. Please email at least 3 days prior to your trip date. A credit card number will be required to confirm your booking. 

Clients will need to contact Adrift between 5:30-7:30pm the night prior to the trip departure. Adrift will then advise on weather conditions for the next day and confirm meeting places and times.