The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a 19.4km (12.05 miles) day walk, located in the central North Island.  Said to be one of New Zealands most popular day walks, it is a must do for New Zealanders and visitors alike.

We did the walk in late Janruary, and it wasn’t a bad time to do it.  It was a cloudy day in morning, which turned into a smoking hot day!  Luckily a cold breeze kept us cool for most of the walk.

I was 100% surprised at a couple of things on the walk, given it is so popular amoung tourists.

Surprise 1:

There is a complete lack of signage and warnings about the difficulty of the track.  We saw lots of tourists in jeans, and completly terrible clothing for doing the track.  I can not see why our wonderful DOC can’t have an info center at each end, like most other countries (for major walks and tracks), reminding people about the difficulties and risks of doing the walk.

Surprise 2:

I thought that for such a huge walk, that in 2010 had over 90000 people do it, have cleaner and better toilets?! 90000 people… REALLY?  After seeing such great facilities in other DOC sites, and over seas, I felt like this was an embarrassment to NZ.

Surprise 3:

The decent down after the half way point was super steep, and there was no rope or anything to assist one down. I can see how ankles can twist etc. I suggest a hiking pole.


Overall, I would recommend doing it once, not in the peak of summer, and bring a hiking pole or two!