Reasons to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Wanting to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing but have some doubts about your fitness, track difficulty or time it takes? Known as the best day walk in New Zealand, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is well worth the journey.
By Simeon Visser
Here's 7 reasons why you should attempt the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
1. Amazing landscape:
You will walk through beautiful volcanic landscape with many rocks, hills and mountains. You can smell sulphur and you come across big and small lakes, trees and little streams of water.
2. Diverse vegetation:
You will see great diversity in vegetation with many plants, bushes and trees as well as grass, moss and flowers. I was really amazed by how frequently the rocks and the surrounding vegetation changes while hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing! I hiked the Tongariro Alpine Crossing walk in summer and I imagine a lot of the landscape to be covered by snow and ice however.
3. It can be done
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a full day hike that can take six to eight hours to complete. Is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing hard? Well, many have gone before you and they have successfully completed the track. In any case do not underestimate it and make sure you prepare properly. You will need to be fit to complete the track as even in summer (when there is no snow and ice) there are some challenging steep parts.
You will need warm clothing and in winter you will need proper equipment to face the snow and ice. In winter you will also be accompanied by a guide for safety reasons. I hiked the Tongariro Alpine Crossing with little previous hiking experience but I am used to walking several kilometers daily when exploring a region or city.
It really depends on your fitness: some found it easy whereas others went to bed right away upon arriving in their accommodation. If the main track of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing track is not enough you can also climb Mount Tongariro or Mount Ngauruhoe along the way.
4. It takes just one day
You will be back the same day which makes it easier to plan in your travel schedule than hikes that span multiple days, including overnight accommodation. The required time is winter is expected to be seven to eight hours although in summer it can be done in around six hours.
5. It is easy to get there
The start of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is in the Tongariro National Park and there are several companies that can take you there. They can also hire you the necessary equipment or sell you other necessities, such as water.
6. It is well worth the money
Sometimes you come across activities that turn out not to be worthy the money but in my opinion, it is hard to be disappointed by the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing itself is free but it costs some money to be taken to the hiking track and to hire the equipment (if needed). The cost of getting to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing for me was NZ$55 dollar with Tongariro Expeditions NZ.
7. You have never seen anything like this!
I am sure you have seen the stunning photos of the Emerald Lakes, the Blue Lake and Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe. There are many nice photo opportunities along the way and they are all combined into one nice hiking trail.
Fans of the film trilogy The Lord of the Rings may also want to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing to see Mount Ngauruhoe or Mount Doom as it is also known. New Zealand is known for its landscape and among the green valleys and snowy mountains, this is a great opportunity to walk through rough landscape that has been shaped by volcanic activity.