The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is heralded as the best one-day trek in New Zealand and is regarded as among the top ten single-day treks in the world.
Many who complete the 19.4-kilometer journey will tell you the climbs can be steep and the weather unpredictable, though worth it in every aspect. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is located in the Tongariro National Park - New Zealand's oldest national park and a dual World Heritage Site. Tongariro National Park is rich in both cultural identity and dramatic, awe-inspiring natural scenery. Unique landforms, including the volcanic peaks of Ngauruhoe, Tongariro and Ruapehu ensure the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is considered a world-renowned trek.

What to expect from the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Although beautiful, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, can be dangerous if you are not fully prepared to enter an alpine environment. Extreme weather, terrain and distance have resulted in this track having the highest number of search and rescues for hikers in New Zealand. This video, produced by the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council, takes you through the entire track and shows you how to prepare for a successful day out so that you make it home safely. 

Shuttle transport recommended for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Visitors are strongly recommended to not park their vehicles at either end of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing but park and ride with licensed operators from the townships nearby such as National Park Village & Whakapapa Village. 

There is a 4-hour parking restriction in place at both the Mangatepopo and Ketetahi road ends to allow for those doing shorter walks. However, for those hiking the entire Tongariro Alpine Crossing, shuttle operators, which are approved by the Department of Conservation, will not only provide timely shuttle transport but also provide expert safety knowledge on the walk and the weather . They will also provide back-up should you suffer a mishap during the day.

Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in Winter

In the winter months, from May to October, snow and ice covers much of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing track. If you are experienced in hiking with crampons and ice axe and in alpine terrain, you can trek the Tongariro Alpine Crossing during these months. Read more about the experience of hiking Tongariro Alpine Crossing in winter here. Without alpine experience, a guided trip is recommended. A guided trip can be booked with one of these local and experienced companies operating from nearby National Park Village: Adrift Tongariro Guiding and Adventure Outdoors Tongariro.

PLEASE NOTE: The usual shuttles services no longer run in winter. However, the four-hour restrictions on parking at either end of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing do not apply either.