Make your own way to join your guide at the designated meeting spot, where your guide provides a safety briefing and equipment needed for the day.
Start your trek in Tongariro National Park—New Zealand’s oldest—on an easy track that follows Mangatepopo Stream up the valley. The trail gets steeper as you climb up to South Crater, ascending 425 feet (200 meters). Continue to Red Crater, Blue Lake, and Ketetahi Hut, taking in lovely views over Oturere Valley, the Kaimanawa range, Rangipo Desert, and Emerald Lakes.
A short climb to North Crater affords additional views before you zigzag over alpine vegetation, Mangatetipua Stream, open grassy areas, and native forest. Your 7-hour hike ends with refreshments at the Ketetahi parking lot.
This hike ranges from easy to moderately challenging, and is ideal for active people with a good level of fitness.