Know before you go
IntroductionSafety information you should consider before commencing your trip.
May to late October (winter season): Special skills and preparation are required to complete the Tongariro Northern Circuit in winter. There is increased risk from snow, ice, avalanche terrain and sub-zero temperatures.
The terrain is difficult
Most of the track is open, difficult, exposed and on uneven surfaces.
Track is not recommended for children under the age of 10. The track travels over exposed mountainous landscapes and often with adverse weather conditions.
Be prepared for all weather conditions
Weather can change suddenly, from warm and sunny to cold and wet with strong winds. Dress warmly as wind-chill can be severe. Be prepared for all conditions. Check the Tongariro National Park weather forecast (NIWA website).
There are several active volcanic vents
The Tongariro Northern Circuit passes through volcanic hazard zones – even when the track is open, volcanic risk is present. Volcanic monitoring systems monitor activity and mitigate volcanic risk, but won't ensure your personal safety. If you are uncomfortable with this risk, choose a different track.
Mobile reception varies
Mobile reception is reasonably good along the track, but there are sections with no coverage. Generally there is no or very limited mobile coverage at Waihohonu Hut.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing booking system
We recommend runners who plan to complete the circuit in a day book to use the Tongariro Alpine Crossing track. Track users with a Tongariro Northern Circuit hut or campsite booking do not need to make a booking for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
Unauthorised use of drones is prohibited. You must have a permit to fly a drone.
DOC does not generally approve permits to fly drones in this national park and we do not recommend you apply for one.