The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is in the Tongariro National Park and about 3.5 hours drive from Whakatane. We had a house in Turangi for the weekend, which was a bonus, especially as we got home late on Saturday night after the walk. Our day started early (I was up by 5am) - we managed to leave the house just after 6am and made our way to the Ketetahi End car park.
We had booked a one way shuttle with Tongariro Crossing Shuttles, which cost $30 each. You can book a two way shuttle pick up, but we wanted the flexibility of taking our time, and in hindsight, was the best option for us (you’ll read about it later!). There is very limited parking at the Ketetahi End car park, so many sure to arrive 30 minutes before your shuttle is due.
There were four of us on this adventure: Myself, my friend Jem and another hiking buddy, as well Jem’s son, Joe, who was my road trip buddy from Whakatane. I have to mention that Joe’s only 12 years old and was the only one in our group who didn’t wake up with aching legs the next day!