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Long-Distance Walks with Mark Moxon

Tongariro Northern Circuit: Route

Most people walk the Tongariro Northern Circuit in a clockwise direction, starting and ending at Whakapapa. I found three days to be perfectly adequate, though a lot of people split the first day at the Mangatepopo Hut some 9km from Whakapapa, making it a four-day hike of 9km, 10km, 15km and 7km. It all depends on how fit you are; the first section is pretty flat but it does suffer from erosion, and it's probably the least interesting part of the whole trek.

Day Walk km
1 Whakapapa to Ketetahi Hut 19
2 Ketetahi Hut to Waihohonu Hut 15
3 Waihohonu Hut to Whakapapa 7
Total distance 41

As The Tongariro Northern Circuit is one of New Zealand's Great Walks, you need to buy a hut pass in advance and the huts can be pretty full in peak times. Get in there early; this is one walk you don't want to miss.