With the Milky Way at your fingertips and shooting stars streaming in the clarity that only the pre-dawn can achieve, come and see the sunrise at Red Crater and enjoy breakfast alfresco.
Sunrise tours route taken often varies between the standard route to the standard route in reverse, and sometimes a route that takes us back to the start. The route picked is dependent on weather conditions time of year and your needs and ability. The sunrise route is the same route as the daytime tour but with one obvious exception ... NO CROWDS!
Meet in the morning at the Adrift base where the guides will go over the days trip conditions and asses and provide the required equipment, and additional clothing and boots if needed. Then, it's time to relax and enjoy the journey. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing spans the length of Mt Tongariro (19 kms) and takes about 7 hours to complete.
Mangatepopo to Soda Springs: Easy, 1 - 1.5-hours
At the Mangatepopo carpark is a shelter and toilet facilities. The main track continues up the valley following the Mangatepopo stream and around the edge of old lava flows. It is interesting to notice the change in plants as you climb in altitude. At Soda Springs are the last toilet facilities until you get to the Ketetahi Hut.
Soda Springs to South Crater: Moderate Difficulty, 40-minutes to an hour
This section is steep, climbing from 1400 up to 1600 meters above sea level and is known as the devils staircase. Take your time, slow and steady is the best way to conquer this section. On a clear day the view down the valley and out across the surrounding countryside is well worth it!
South Crater to Red Crater: Moderate Difficulty, 1-hour
It is great to be on the flat, but once you have crossed South Crater there is another short climb on an exposed ridge to Red Crater. You have spectacular views over the Oturere Valley, Rangipo Desert, Kaimanawa Ranges and down to the Emerald Lakes.
Red Crater to Blue Lake: Moderate, 30-minutes
Care is required with the descent from Red Crater, as this part of the track is steep and you are on loose scoria which can move under foot. To the left you will see an old lava flow from Red Crater. The Tongariro Crossing track follows around the edge of Central Crater then climbs up to Blue Lake (A cold acidic lake). To the right are the Emerald Lakes.
Blue Lake to Ketetahi Hut: Moderate, 1-hour
There is a short easy climb to the edge of North Crater. In good weather there are spectacular views out over Mt Pihanga and Lake Rotoaira to Lake Taupo. You then zigzag your way down to the Ketetahi Shelter through the natural alpine garden.
Ketetahi Shelter to Ketetahi Carpark: Moderate, 2-hours
The track crosses the stream that flows down from Keteahi Hot Springs and leads through open tussock land to a clearing with some seats. At this point the track drops steeply to the Mangatetipua Stream and through native forest for about and hour and a half. The Ketetahi carpark has a shelter, toilets. Refreshments will be waiting for you.