Ruapehu or Ngauruhoe Full Day Guided Hike

For those who want a little more try a full day Ruapehu or Ngauruhoe Guided Walk....

Mt Ruapehu is the highest (2797m), of the three active andesitic volcanoes in the Tongariro National Park. The last eruption on Mt Ruapehu was in 2007. There are three ski fields on Mt Ruapehu. The closest accommodation locations are Whakapapa Village and National Park Village. 

The walk begins at the Whakapapa Ski area at the top of the Bruce Road on Mt Ruapehu. There may be an option of taking a chairlift up to Knoll Ridge cafe. This option will depend on the group on the day and if the chairlifts are operating. Payment for the chairlift is about $26 pp and is made to Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (situated at the start of the walk). Taking the chairlift is not compulsory. 

Walking distance is 10 kms return or 7 kms return when the chairlift is utilised. Walking time is about 6-7 hours. 

This walk requires a good level of fitness. The terrain is uneven and steep in places. It is possible to take the walk as far as Knoll Ridge Cafe if you are concerned about your fitness. 

During winter and times of snow, surface conditions will vary from day to day. Crampons and ices axes are required and your guide will provide instruction on how to use them correctly. 

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Route Description Mt. Ruapehu's Crater Lake

The most commonly used early summer route, when there is snow still present in the valleys, follows up the left- hand-side of the Knoll Ridge t-bar line, and continues up the valley above the last t-bar pylon. At the head of the valley climb up onto the ridge behind Glacier Knob. At this point, a narrow foot track zigzagging up the face and onto Dome Ridge may be seen. Follow along Dome Ridge to Dome Shelter.

The second unmarked route is recommended when most of the snow has disappeared. From the top of the Waterfall Express chairlift travel over to your right past pylons indicating the Knoll Ridge t-bar line and over to Restful Ridge. Stay on Restful Ridge as you climb towards the Crater area. You will go up a series of rises. The terrain is mainly rock. At the top of Restful Ridge, there is a more open face. At this point, you may see a narrow foot track zigzagging up the face and onto Dome Ridge. Follow along Dome Ridge to Dome Shelter.

The return

Return to chairlifts via same route. The lifts close at 4.00 pm daily. Should conditions deteriorate during the day the lifts may have to be closed earlier.

The reward 

Lunch on top of the North Island highest volcano from where you can gaze down into the geothermal waters of the crater lake. On your way up and down take time to enjoy the truly spectacular views.

Route Description Ngauruhoe Full Day Walk

The near perfect volcanic cone of Mt Ngauruhoe entices many visitors to its summit. It is 2287 m high and last erupted in 1975. Mt Ngauruhoe found recent fame as Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings film.

This parasitic cone of Mt Tongariro is one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes.

The ascent

We follow the Tongariro Alpine Crossing track up the Mangatepopo Valley to the saddle between Ngauruhoe and Tongariro (up to 2 hr). Then we take a route that leads to the foot of a ridge near the centre of Mt Ngauruhoe. We follow the rock ridge or on either side of the mountain directly up toward the summit.  Beyond the ridge, cross over the band of red rock to reach the outer crater gully.  From here we climb to the highest point on the outer crater rim (to the left) or to the top of the inner crater rim (to the right). There are steam vents on the outer rim.  

The descent

We then descend via the red scoria, then on the loose scree to either side of the ridge.  Lots of fun!

Summer climbing

  • Good fitness is required to climb Ngauruhoe. It is steep with a rugged loose rock surface.
  • The climb is very steep (about 30°)
  • Summer weather can be cold - snowfall, icy surfaces and sub-zero temperatures, heavy rain and strong wind, are all possible - be prepared we can kit you out with all gear requirements.
  • Altitude / elevation gain - you gain about 650 m in altitude from the South Crater to the summit, and about 1160 m from Mangatepopo parking area to the summit

Winter climbing

  • Climbing and backcountry skiing are popular on Ngauruhoe in winter, for skilled and equipped people and you are guided by the best from Adrift.
  • Alpine equipment and experience using it are essential for climbing the mountain when it's covered in snow/ice - icy conditions can make climbing very dangerous on the steep slopes.


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Twin Mountains Package

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Please click on the book now button for all our current pricing.  Price includes your guide/s, lunch, return transport accommodation pick-ups from National Park Village or Whakapapa Village, additional footwear and clothing (if required) and a delightful post-trip refreshment.

Transfers are also available for Taupo and Turangi at an additional charge.

Checkout the Ruapehu crater walk gallery below