Tongariro Alpine Crossing in winter

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a popular hike but it is also dangerous.

Date:  04 October 2018

The apparently preventable fatality of a hiker on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing yesterday was a deeply saddening tragedy says Department of Conservation Operations Manager, Bhrent Guy.

Mr Guy said advice during winter and this shoulder season is to book your alpine experience with a guide and have a memorable but safe alpine experience.  Professionally trained guides know how to read the weather, ensure that hikers are dressed in right gear and will take visitors back if the weather changes.

But even in summer, visitors need to heed the safety advice.

“The conditions can be cold all year round, you can still get hypothermia in summer, the question we really need visitors to ask themselves – is this really the right hike for me?  Am I fit enough? Do I know what alpine conditions mean?”

According to Lonely Planet, Tongariro Alpine Crossing was the second most popular activity to do in the entire country in 2018.  

Mr Guy said doing the Alpine Crossing is not a short walk.

“It’s an alpine mountain traverse, it’s almost the same length as a half marathon. 

“Nobody wakes up and does a half marathon without months of fitness training, preparing or the right gear.

“It may be NZ’s number two activity but it’s not worth putting your life and those of search and rescue personal at risk.”

Both DOC and Ngāti Hikairo wish that visitors have a memorable alpine experience for the right reasons.

A three-day rāhui has been placed on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and will be lifted at sunrise on Saturday, October 6. This rāhui is supported by DOC, NZ Police and LandSAR. 

All climbers and trampers are asked to show respect by doing alternative hikes during the rāhui.


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