Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Make sure you are well prepared to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. It is a 19.4 km point to point hike through an amazing volcanic landscape. You will start at the Mangatepopo Carpark and after 6 to 8 hours you will arrive on the otherside at the Ketitahi Carpark.
From October through to April it is generally safe to complete the hike without a guide depending on weather conditions. Always check the weather and get advice from locals before setting off. Even the weather looks fine, it doesnot mean it is fine at 1800m. Be prepared with appropirate clothing, plenty of food and drinks. Carefully read the brochures compiled by the Department of Conservation below.
As this is a point to point walk, you must have arrange transfers to get you to the start of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. We recommend the following options:
Drive to Ketitahi Carpark end of the Crossing. Park you car in the secure carpark ( small fee applies) and catch a shuttle to the start of the Crossing. Allow 45 minutes from Tongariro Suites to drive, park your car and check in for your shuttle. The advantage is that you can relax during your hike, not having to worry about a timetable for the return shuttle. Your car will be patiently waiting for you, no matter how long you take.
Drive to National Park Village Park and Ride, next to the railway station. From here you will catch a shuttle to the start of the Crossing. You will be collected at the Ketitahi Carpark and transfered back to National Park Village. Allow 20 minutes from Tongariro Suites to drive, park your car and check in for your shuttle. There are plenty of return shuttles in the afternoon without having to stress over a timetable. There is no need to book the return shuttle.
Walk to the end of our road and catch a shuttle from Horopito around 7 am and enjoy a scenic drive to the start of the Crossing. You will be collected at the Ketitahi Carpark and transfered back to Tongariro Suites. Although this is the easiest solution, please note there is only one departure in the morning and only three pick up times in the afternoon.
All the above shuttle services can be booked online, or we can organise it for you as long as you check in before 5 pm. There is no need to book more then a day in advance as the shuttles are very much weather dependant. Departure times vary from 6 am to around 10 am in the morning.
In the winter months - May through to October it is absolutely essential that you book a Tongariro Alpine Crossing guided walk unless you are an experienced hiker and have walking poles, crampons, iceaxe and full weather gear. A high level of fitness is absoluletly essential as you might walk through knee high snow and on the steep sections might require the use of the ice axe to steady yourself. The guides will teach you how to use all the equipement. They will keep your well informed and safe during the hike. They constantly monitor the weather and avalance risks. So be prepared to be turned around if the risks are too high to continue. Very often this can not be assessed until halfway through your hike. All equipment including hiking boots and warm waterproof clothing is provided by the hiking companies. Tongariro Guided Walk Company is our preferred guiding company. They only cater for small groups and will arrange with you a meeting point in National Park Village.
In the summer months it is also possible to take a guided walk. This is great if you are not a confident walker or you simply enjoy the company of other like minded people and like the interpretations the guide will give you around the history of the volcanoes, maori legends and geology of the region.