Preparing to complete the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Parkland Motor Lodge - Soda springs Tongariro Crossing

 The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is within Tongariro National Park and is one of the most popular day hikes in New Zealand. The Tongariro National Park is a World Heritage Site, but is unique as it has dual status as it has been acknowledged for both its cultural and natural significance. The crossing takes you through some unbelievable terrain on the active volcano which has multiple craters. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing itself takes about seven hours of steady walking to complete in good weather, taking longer in winter or if walked from the Ketetahi end. (Due to Ketetahi being at the lower end).

Click here to learn more about the track and this amazing experience.

Because of the Alpine environment, Mount Tongariro can be subject to unpredictable weather, and conditions can change quickly. It is important that all walkers carry the essentials for their journey across. The weather in the car park at the beginning of the track can differ greatly from conditions 1000 metres higher up the track. This blog is to help you prepare for your Tongariro Crossing Adventure.

 What should be in your bag?

  • Food and plenty of fluid - especially in the summer months. If you are planning on completing any of the summit tracks, ensure you have additional water supplies. Click here for some food options.
  • Waterproof and windproof raincoat and trousers
  • Strong, sturdy boots (you will be trekking over uneven volcanic terrain)
  • Warm clothing layers - woollen or polypropylene thermals and fleece. Click here for some ideas on the clothes you can get. 
  • First Aid Kit. You can get some mountain specific first aid kits, click here for an online supplier. 
  • Map (You can get this from Turangi I-Site they also have on-site rangers that can assist you with questions or advise before you head up)
  • Cellphone - Make sure it is fully charged and topped up.

 Weather conditions

The importance of weather conditions cannot be expressed strongly enough. Mountain weather can change at the drop of a hat, and no matter how prepared you are or how lovely the weather looks in town, the mountain weather can be dangerous. Keep updated on any storms, fog, or frost.  Turn around and return if you have any doubt or conditions begin to worsen.

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

Plan your transport: 

The walk is popular in all seasons with locals and tourists, but the park's peak is in the summer months. Parking at both car parks is limited, and with the road to each car park being unsealed and narrow, DOC recommends that visitors travel with licensed transport operators from either Whakapapa, National Park Village, Turangi, Taupo, and Ohakune. See what else DOC has to say.

Think you can handle more?

For people wanting more, there is Mount Ngauruhoe that joins at the base and can be climbed as a side trip; although, this is not a marked track and should not be climbed in cloud, mist, rain or snow. The weather in the Tongariro National Park can change rapidly; you need a clear day to ensure that you come down to the marked Tongariro Alpine Crossing Track. If you get vertigo you should not consider it! You need to be very fit to climb this and to complete the Tongariro Alpine Crossing; it is very difficult to climb on all the scree (rubble and gravel) you can take one step forward and slide three steps down. You can be on your hands and knees for most of the way up as it is very steep in places. You must be careful as climbers can dislodge rocks above you; watch out for fast-moving volcanic rock! It will take an extra 2-3 hours return.

So, when you are ready for the challenge, pack your bags and give us a call. We can offer advice and arrange your bookings and transport for our motel guests.  See you soon!