Plan Your Trip

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a challenging, yet rewarding, 19.4 km (12 mile) hike across an active volcanic landscape. Here's how to make sure you are prepared to complete the walk safely.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing Must Haves

The must-haves for your trek

Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Mt Ngauruhoe in winterTongariro National Park can be subject to unpredictable weather, and conditions can change quickly. It is important that all walkers carry the essentials for their journey across.


As of October 2023, visitors to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing are expected to book in advance for their visits through a booking system managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC). There is no cost for the bookings or a limit of the number of bookings for the 2023/2024 season, but they are needed for those using shuttles and going on guided walks, and for anyone using any part of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing track including:

Season 2024-2025 we will provide an update on any changes to the booking systems once we have an update from Department of Conservation.

Visitors who have a Tongariro Northern Circuit hut or campsite booking are exempt from booking through this system.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing bookings can be made by completing an online form on the DOC website, in person at a DOC visitor centre or through a walking guide or shuttle service.

Also be sure to book a shuttle for your trip, as parking in limited at both ends of the track - with a four-hour time limit from mid-October to April. 

What to take

Be sure to pack the following essential items:

Due to the rugged and alpine environment, the weather in the car park at the beginning of the track can differ greatly from conditions 1000 metres higher further up the track.

Be prepared to change your plans and turn back especially when visibility is poor or strong winds prevail.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing must have equipment

Be prepared for changes in the weather

Tongariro Alpine Crossing Mt Ngauruhoe on duskThe weather can change quickly and unexpectedly in any alpine environment. At times conditions can be extreme.

Be prepared for every type of weather. Please take care to note the Essentials List which tells you exactly what to take and what to wear.

During the winter additional gear like crampons and ice axes are required. Please take care to read Winter Experience if you are intending a winter trip.

Check the NIWA website for the weather forecast and daily weather advisories. Tongariro National Park has a specific forecast. 

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. The video below, 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:

The map below shows a profile of the track with key points along the way:

Tongariro Alpine Crossing time and distance grid

Environmental Care Code

Please the respect the Tongariro National Park by adhering to the New Zealand Environmental Care Code:

" Just hang on up here mate — she gets a bit bumpy aye.. " Barry Crump