Tongariro Alpine Crossing FAQs
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is located east of National Park Village, within the Tongariro National Park on the North Island of New Zealand.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing starts at the Mangatepopo Road end and finishes at the Ketetahi Road end.
There is limited car parking at the start of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. However, a four hour time limit is imposed during the summer months. There is a private car park at the finish of the hike. Many hikers will leave their car at the place they are staying and take a shuttle to the start. If you're not staying in the area there's a car park in National Park Village.
You can catch a shuttle to the start of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing from where ever you are staying. Alternatively you can drive to the finish or National Park Village and catch a shuttle from there.
The closest villages to the start of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing are Whakapapa and National Park. Both villages have a range of accommodation. Hikers also stay further away at Taupo, Turangi, Taumarunui and Ohakune.
The highest point on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is Red Crater at 1,886 m (6,188 ft). The start is at approximately 1100 m so the ascent is about 800m.
Most hikers take around 7 to 8 hours to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing including photo breaks and lunch. At an average walking pace the track would take 5 to 6 hours hiking non stop.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is about 19.4 kilometres, or 12 miles.
You should take at least 1.5 litres of water when hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. It's a good idea to be well hydrated before you start.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is free to hike. However you do pay for the shuttle bus. This can be anywhere between $30 to $70 pp.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing can be difficult for some people. More so for those who are not physically prepared. However fit people can have a difficult time on the hike if the weather conditions are poor and they don't have the correct gear. If you're fit and the weather is good the hike is relatively easy.
Most people will take a shuttle to the start of the Tongariro Crossing. Alternatively you can get a friend or family member tp drop you off.
If you plan to stay in the area your accommodation provider will help you organise a shuttle. If you're not staying you can simply book a shuttle.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing can be closed due to a volcanic eruption or if a Rāhui is placed on the track. Both are a rare occurrence. The track cannot be closed due to bad weather. However, professional shuttle companies will cancel their service when the weather is dangerous.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing traverses a high altitude alpine environment which is prone to severe weather conditions. It's extremely important to get expert local advice about conditions before setting out. It's also critical to be prepared for all weather, as conditions can change very quickly and without warning. You will also need a good level of fitness to tackle the 20 kilometre hike.
Yes, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing can be hard if you're not physically prepared, the weather conditions are poor, or you don't have the right gear. Otherwise it can be relatively easy.
The summer months from November through to the end of April is the best time of year to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Winter months can also be fun but best to go with a guide if you don't have a good level of alpine experience.
The best time to start hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is first thing in the morning. You get the chance to witness a beautiful sunrise, you avoid the crowds and you're able to finish the climb before the heat of the day. Otherwise you can start anytime as long as can finish before darkness.
The Te Maari crater on the northern flanks of Mt Tongariro erupted in November 2012. This was the last eruption from Mt Tongariro.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a highly acclaimed one day hike through the volcanic landscape of Tongariro National Park.
It's important to be well prepared when hiking the Tongariro Crossing. Part of being well prepared is packing the right gear. It's essential to take a quality rain jacket, plenty of warm layers, sturdy footwear, sun protection, water, and food.
What you wear while hiking the Tongariro Crossing depends on the weather conditions on the day. It's best to wear merino next to your skin and not cotton. Wear as many layers as you need to keep warm. Pack extra gear so you're prepared for any weather. Best to wear hiking boots, but running or hiking shoes are sufficient for fit experienced hikers or runners.