Are you looking for an adventure that takes you through a snowy wonderland without the crowds? Then hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in winter may be just the thing for you. From May to September, the crowds are thin, and you get to experience the beauty of the snowy landscapes. Here’s everything you need to know about this winter wonderland adventure.
Winter Months: What to Expect
From May to June, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing may not be completely snow-covered, but the days are shorter, and the weather is colder. The occasional blue sky makes the hike even more magical during this time of the year. As the later winter months approach, snow begins to fall, transforming the landscapes into a breathtaking snowy wonderland.
Climbing in Snowy Conditions
When the snow covers the ground, hiking becomes more challenging, but also more rewarding. As you trek through the snow, the magical landscape will leave you in awe. The guides provide you with crampons and ice axes to help you traverse the snowy terrain. Don’t worry if you’ve never been in alpine conditions before, as the guides are experienced and will assist you with your alpine equipment.
Safety Comes First
The alpine weather and conditions on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing can be unpredictable and may change quickly. Cold temperatures, strong winds, heavy rainfall, poor visibility, and snowfall can occur at any time of the year. Therefore, it’s recommended that visitors go with a guide so that they are well-equipped and prepared for the alpine conditions. The guides prioritize keeping you safe while ensuring an enjoyable experience.
No alpine experience is required, but you must have moderate to good fitness levels as walking time is around 7-9 hours, climbing high up to an elevation of 1886m. Children may also come along, but they would need to have good fitness levels and sufficient hiking experience. Enquire with the guide to determine if you and your children are suitable for the hike.
The guided tours include a professional guide who will provide you with information on the geography, flora & fauna, history & cultural values of the area. Snacks, lunch, and refreshments are also provided. In addition, crampons and ice-axes are provided during winter. The Department of Conservation (DOC) fee is also included, as well as transport transfers to and from tracks (from Taupo approximately 1 hour 30 minutes each way). Gear hire is available at an additional charge.
Pick-Up Times and Locations
There are two pick-up locations available: TKA Base – Unit 2, 876 Acacia Bay Road, Acacia Bay, Taupo, or Accommodation in Taupo CBD. Pick-up times vary according to the season: Summer Pick-up is at 6.15am, and return is at 6.30pm, while Winter Pick-up is at 5.20am, and return is at 6.30pm.
The other pick-up location is at Turangi I-Site or Accommodation in Turangi CBD. Summer Pick-up is at 7.15am, and return is at 5.45pm, while Winter Pick-up is at 5.20am, and return is at 5.45pm. Note that the pick-up times may vary slightly, depending on the pick-up location.
Other Transport Locations
If you wish to be picked up from Turangi, the guide can transfer your drop-off location back to Taupo CBD. Return transport between the Taupo and Turangi locations (i.e., Motuoapa) can also be arranged. Contact the guide to discuss these options further before booking your tour. An additional charge may apply for these additional transport services.