Between October and May every year, thousands of keen adventurers come to Tongariro National Park to hike the Tongariro Crossing. This season has been no exception.
However, with every year that passes, new, less experienced trekkers make their way to the Tongariro Crossing, many of whom end up finding themselves in a bit of trouble. It may be that the conditions changed unexpectedly, or it could simply be that they just weren’t very well prepared.
While it’s relatively safe to hike the Tongariro Crossing, it is a 19.4 km track that reaches an altitude of 1886 metres. If you want to hike the Tongariro Crossing safely, get the most out of it and enjoy the adventure, your best bet is to arm yourself with as much knowledge of the track as possible prior to setting off.
We have put together some of the questions asked, so you can become familiar with the ins and outs of the Tongariro Crossing which will help prepare you for your hike.
How difficult is the Tongariro Crossing?
The Tongariro Crossing covers 19.4 km of alpine terrain. This includes loose scoria, ancient lava flows and beech forest. The walk takes around six to eight hours with an ascent to 1886 metres.
So while the tracks are all clearly marked, it’s common to encounter slippery and steep sections.
The Tongariro Crossing is a moderate-level hike and, given its length and difficult terrain, requires hikers to be of a good level of fitness. It is not wise to expect you can tackle the Tongariro Crossing without some level of training prior to your walk.
Is the Tongariro Crossing dangerous?
The alpine terrain, steep sections and slippery tracks mean hikers definitely have to have their wits about them. If not trekked carefully, yes, the Tongariro Crossing can be dangerous.
There are many factors that can put hikers in danger, including the unpredictable alpine conditions and narrow, slippery areas of the tracks.
At the highest point of 1886 metres, the air can become thin and may have an impact on your breathing. If you have respiratory issues, you must come well prepared with what you might need should you have trouble breathing.
Do you need hiking boots for the Tongariro crossing?
A good quality tramping boot with ankle support is a must. There are a lot of rocky, uneven sections where you’ll be glad your ankles are supported if you slip along the way.
We strongly advise against wearing trainers to the Tongariro Crossing. You will need a sturdy, waterproof boot with adequate grip.
Remember, you will be on this track for six to eight hours so comfort is paramount!
Where does the Tongariro Crossing start and finish
The Tongariro Crossing starts at Mangetepopo, a 15-minute drive from The Park Hotel. The walk is well-marked from the beginning so trekkers find it easy to navigate the whole way through.
The walk ends at Ketetahi, a 25-minute drive from The Park Hotel.
During the summer season, we offer transport to and from the Tongariro Crossing to make it easier for our guests to enjoy the experience.
What do I wear to hike the Tongariro Crossing?
Even in the summer season, it’s important to prepare for four seasons in one day if you’re going to hike the Tongariro Crossing.
As you will be trekking through alpine conditions, weather can quickly and unexpectedly take a turn for the worse at any time.
Here’s what you need:
- A waterproof and windproof jacket
- Waterproof over trousers
- Warm base layers (wool, fleece or polypropylene)
- Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots
- Sunglasses and hat
- Beanie and gloves
- Lighter clothing such as shorts and t-shirts
It’s is also vital that you wear sunscreen and take extra sunscreen with you.
What do I take when I hike the Tongariro Crossing?
All trekkers must carry a backpack with plenty of supplies to see them through a full day on the Tongariro Crossing. In your backpack, you must have the following:
- Healthy, high energy food such as muesli bars, nuts and fruit
- Plenty of water (around three litres)
- Map, compass, or GPS. While the track is well marked, you should always have another map source with you
- A camera
- First aid kit
Where should I stay when I hike the Tongariro Crossing?
The best way to get the full Tongariro Crossing experience is to stay close by. This way you don’t have to waste your holiday time driving to and from the hike.
You also need to be prepared that you will be tired after you hike the Tongariro Crossing and probably very hungry, therefore you should book quality, comfortable accommodation that also offers the ease of an on-site restaurant.
The Park Hotel ticks all of these boxes and more. We are only 15 minutes from the starting point of the Tongariro Crossing and only 25 minutes from the finishing point. Our shuttle service can take you to and from the Tongariro Crossing so you don’t have to drive anywhere on the day of your hike.
We love sharing in the excitement of our guests as they take off on their hike.
We also love hearing their stories on the way home.
The experience is different for everyone but one thing is certain, the better prepared you are, the better time you will have.
At the end of a long day on the Tongariro Crossing, you’ll love to soak those tired legs in one of our outdoor hot tubs. Relaxing outdoors in the warmth of a spa is the perfect way to unwind and reflect on your day trekking through alpine terrain.
When you’re feeling relaxed and ready to eat, head to our on-site Spiral Restaurant and Bar where you can refuel with a delicious, fresh meal.
The Park Hotel is a top choice of accommodation for everyone looking to hike the Tongariro Crossing. Comfort, quality and location are the three key things to look out for when booking your accommodation and The Park Hotel ticks them all.
Call us today to book your stay and get ready for an epic adventure on the Tongariro Crossing.