Tongariro National Park is famous for its many amazing hiking tracks and one that is quickly gaining popularity is the Mount Ruapehu Crater Climb.
This seven-hour adventure takes trekkers to the Crater Lake lookout point at an altitude of 2,672 metres.
Just imagine those views!
The Mount Ruapehu Crater Climb is a not like other hiking tracks in Tongariro National Park. This hike is only for well-equipped trekkers who have plenty of hiking experience under their belt. If you don’t fit this category and still want to do the climb, opt for a guided trek with someone who knows the route well.
As you climb above the clouds through rugged volcanic terrain, you’ll see sweeping views of Tongariro National Park and the entire volcanic zone.
The Mount Ruapehu Crater Climb is a must-do adventure for hikers.
About the Mount Ruapehu Crater Climb
There are two ways to start the climb: by foot or by chairlift. If you choose to begin the climb on foot, prepare for an extra two hours of hiking.
Hiking the whole way
Time: 7 hours
Distance: 10 km
The entry point for the Mount Ruapehu Crater Climb is at Iwikau Village, Whakapapa Ski Area at the top of Bruce Road. You’ll find Bruce Road just off State Highway 48. It’s about a 10-minute drive from The Park Hotel.
Walk to Knoll Ridge where the Sky Waka gondola drops its passengers. It’s here that you’ll begin your climb to Mount Ruapehu Crater Lake.
Taking the Sky Waka to Knoll Ridge first
Time: 5 hours
Distance: 7 km
If you want to try out the shiny new Sky Waka gondola, this is a good opportunity. It also cuts a good couple of hours off your hike.
Begin the ascent to Mount Ruapehu Crater Lake after your glide up Whakapapa in the Sky Waka. Feel free to take the Sky Waka on your way back down to Iwikau Village.
Trek the Mount Ruapehu Crater Climb unguided this summer
As we’ve already mentioned, unguided treks are only for those completely competent and well-experienced in hiking.
The most important thing to note is that this is an unformed route, meaning there will be no markers along the way to direct you. As you’re climbing to such a high altitude, the terrain is often steep and you may feel light-headed at times.
While a high level of fitness is a top priority, unguided hikers must have good knowledge of volcanic hazards and ever-changing alpine conditions.
Some important things to consider
- Dome Ridge is an area on the way to the Crater Lake and is potentially a hazardous zone. It is a ridge and therefore narrow and steep in some places. Dome Ridge can be slippery, even in the summer.
- If a siren sounds while you are in the area, head for higher ground
- Make sure you return down the mountain the same way you came up to minimise your risk of becoming lost
- Be sure to check the last running time for the Sky Waka to avoid missing it
- Hike with a buddy or group of like-minded experienced trekkers
- Only attempt the Mount Ruapehu Crater Climb on a clear day
- Ensure you are equipped with good hiking shoes, pants, rain jacket, gloves, sunglasses, a beanie, a hat and sunscreen
- Take spare clothing, a Personal Location Beacon and a fully-charged cell phone
- Familiarise yourself with the area before you hike
Take a guided trek to the Mount Ruapehu Crater Lake
Guided treks are the easiest way to reach the Mount Ruapehu Crater Lake safely and even with an experienced guide, there is still plenty of adventure in a guided trek!
Summer guided treks with Adrift Tongariro run from October 30 to April 1. If you want to see snow, go early in the season but prepare for slippery areas. If you want the tracks to be clear, it’s best to go late-summer.
Guided walks also ensure you are fully equipped with the right gear and have all the information you need to ensure your personal safety. Lunch is also included and you’re given plenty of time to complete the walk.
Summer treks begin at 8 am and finish at 5:30 pm.
The hike gets serious once you begin your ascent from Knoll Ridge. Lots of boulders, gravel, glaciers and narrow tracks.
It’s a thrilling experience guided or unguided.
An unforgettable experience for the avid hiker
It’s not every day you get to climb to the top of an active volcano and if you’re a serious hiker, the Mount Ruapehu Crater Climb should be added to your bucket list.
Among the steam of the milky-blue Crater Lake, the views over Tongariro’s volcanic zone will take your breath away.
While we love the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and consider it one of the region’s biggest treasures, the Mount Ruapehu Crater Climb is a step up when it comes to taking an exhilarating hiking adventure.
There are few places more abundant in hiking opportunities than Tongariro National Park.
Hiking is a great way to see the region up close and personal and immerse yourself in this diverse landscape.
Many of our guests come to Tongariro National Park to challenge themselves with a new hiking adventure. We think the Mount Ruapehu Crater Climb is the best challenge yet.
At only 10 minutes’ drive to the climb’s entry point, The Park Hotel is a convenient and comfortable place to stay. Tackle the Mount Ruapehu Crater Climb and head back to The Park Hotel for a soak in one of our outdoor hot tubs.
We are located in the heart of Tongariro National Park which means you have easy access to all that the region has to offer. We love to see our guests returning after a day of adventure and settling in to enjoy a delicious meal at our on-site Spiral Restaurant and Bar.
At the end of an adventure-filled day, you’ll love the quiet comfort of The Park Hotel. We look forward to having you stay with us. Call us today to book your accommodation.