Experience the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in new safety video

23rd November 2022|3min

A new safety video launched in time for summer focuses on helping both domestic and international walkers to prepare for one of the country’s most challenging, yet spectacular, day walks… the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

MEDIA RELEASE: 29 Nov 2022

Walking through 19.4km of rugged volcanic landforms and surrounded by dramatic alpine scenery, it's a journey like nowhere else in the world. However, it is this beautiful yet harsh environment combined with highly changeable weather that contributes towards the Tongariro Alpine Crossing having had the highest number of search and rescues of any tramping track in Aotearoa. 

The video was made by the NZ Mountain Safety Council (MSC) in partnership with Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro, the Department of Conservation (DOC), NZ Police, LandSAR, Tourism NZ and members of the local tourism industry. It is an updated version of the popular original released in 2018 and highlights the key information a hiker needs to know before attempting the track including what to pack, key hazards and decision-making points.

The update emphasises specific essential track details, advice on how to descend the rocky scree from Red Crater and a greater focus on how to manage key risks and difficult sections. It has also been translated into Mandarin and Korean and has subtitles in six other languages.

This video is part of MSC’s award-winning Tramping Video Series that showcases 20 tracks across Aotearoa.

MSC Chief Executive Mike Daisley says the updated video will continue to be a great resource for walkers and hikers just ahead of the busy summer period.

“Our borders are open again and summer is shaping up to be a bumper one. We’re expecting a lot of Kiwis out and about exploring, and we know the track is a hugely popular destination and adventure.”

The updated video is one of eleven proposed solutions to improve safety on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing made by an independent Issue Specific Advisory Group established in 2018. Led by MSC, with the support of DOC and Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro, the group suggested that subsequent versions should be translated into other languages. It also suggested replacing outdated footage and better demonstrating the length of hike, successful descent techniques and reinforcing alternative trip options.

“The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is internationally known as one of the most incredible day hikes in the world, we know people come with the specific intention to complete it, so this level of proactive prevention is required,” Daisley says.

The crossing is in the Tongariro National Park, a UNESCO Dual World Heritage Park that recognises both the natural environment, and the cultural and spiritual significance the mountainous land has to local Māori.

Bubs Smith of local hapu Ngati Hikairo ki Tongariro, and a LandSAR volunteer, says the video is an essential tool to help people be properly prepared.

“From a social perspective, as a dual heritage site our challenge is not only to encourage people to respect the maunga and the climatic conditions and changes in an alpine environment, but also to respect themselves in regard to being properly prepared with their own personal safety at the forefront of their minds.” 

 “For individuals and groups thinking of attempting the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, this video is an essential tool to enable them to prepare and plan, before tackling the challenging hike - watching it well in advance, not the day before, is when they will get the true value,” he says.  

Smith recalls rescues on the track where both Kiwis and tourists were ill-equipped and overestimated their fitness abilities but is pleased to see more people are adequately prepared these days.

 “People need to remember it’s not just the blue skies and amazing views. It’s a contrast of worlds that is rarely matched; beautiful scenery yet in a harsh environment.”

Plan My Walk by MSC can help those planning to attempt the Tongariro Alpine Crossing as it includes the new video plus any relevant weather alerts, a weather forecast, and a suggested gear list, and users can easily create a trip plan to share with a trusted emergency contact.


Notes to journalists: 

  • Watch the video here on YouTube, or here in Plan My Walk 
  • The Tramping Video Series and the associated research won the ‘Insights Communication’ award and 2021 Research Associations Effectiveness Awards. Read more here.