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The Tongariro Crossing is a ‘must do’ for everyone passing through Turangi. It was a massive drawcard to our international visitors who, on many an occasion, expressed how they wished they had stayed in the area longer and seen more of what there was to offer. Leaving early and motoring on to the next destination after a huge day’s hiking seemed to be rather bizarre and no time was given to stay and play longer in the area. Alternatively, arriving early from another destination to hike the Crossing and then collapsing in bed that afternoon carries no sense either. To have the best experience crossing the Alpine Track, visitors are advised to stay at least two days. Leaving early, before the heat of the sun, and with a takeaway breakfast in hand, is a wise decision. To get the first climb behind you before the sun stings your back is sound advice.

During the course of the crossing such a wide range of geographical features greet you, that time needs to be taken to stop, admire the view and take the photos. An ancient glacial valley, extinct and active craters, waterfalls and springs, glistening emerald lakes, old lava flows and beech forest are the main features that fill your day, not to mention the Mountain of Doom for those Hobbit fanatics!

The mountain cannot be taken lightly nor for granted. She is a high mountain, by New Zealand standards, and with her come the quirky weather patterns with all seasons possible in one day: spring, summer, autumn and winter. The best time for amateurs to hike the track would be November – April. Planning the time is essential, noting that the hike can take between 6-8 hours but do not be disillusioned if it takes you nine hours. The ascent is 1886 metres high so a good level of fitness is essential and prior training may be necessary. Some sections are steep and slippery so planning the trek is not to be taken lightly.

Always

  • wear sturdy footwear: a good quality tramping boot with ankle support and a good gripping sole is essential. Trainers are not  really ideal, as ankle support is  highly recommended, certainly  do not  wear sandals or jandals!

  • carry plenty of water (approx. 3 litres)

  • the air is thinner at the top so take inhalers etc if you need them

  • waterproof & windproof jacket

  • waterproof over trousers

  • warm base layers (wool, fleece or polypropylene)

  • sunglasses & hat

  • beanie & gloves

  • lighter clothing such as shorts and t-shirt (never jeans)

  • sunscreen

  • healthy, high-energy food such as muesli bars, nuts, fruit, chocolate

  • map, compass or GPS

  • camera

  • First Aid Kit

We have done the trek in summer and used everything in our packs: every sun-protection item, then wind protection and finally raingear. Even all scroggin was consumed, apart from the emergency pack reserved for the trip back home!

The track is best entered through the Mangatepopo Valley, where a shuttle can take you from the secure carpark, on the Ketetahi side, to the hike’s entrance. That way, you have less of a climb up and you will return down the other side of Mount Tongariro to your car parked safely, awaiting you. That way you are in charge of your timing and not reliant on anyone else. Bookings for the shuttle can be arranged. 

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing will be a highlight of your stay in this area and the experience is sought after by many kiwis and international visitors alike. but allow at least a two-night stay. You will not be disappointed. Not to mention the may other activities avaiable in the area.