Auckland, being New Zealand’s biggest city and port of arrival for many overseas tourists, generates most visitors to Tongariro Crossing.

Bear in mind, you won’t be driving straight to the crossing from Auckland.

Instead you’ll head to wherever it is that you are staying – and we’ve listed the popular towns and their drive times from Auckland.



The driving time from Auckland depends on where you are going to be based while you hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Below are typical driving times to the common townships.

  • Auckland to Turangi: 321 kms, 4.3 hours to drive
  • Auckland to Tongariro National Park: 331 kms, 4.13 hours to drive
  • Auckland to Taupo: 271 kms, 3.25 hours to drive
  • Auckland to Ohakune: 358 kms, 4.30 hour to drive
Regardless of where you base yourself for the crossing, you’ll also need to arrange car parking at Ketetahi and a one way Tongariro Crossing shuttle.


The best way to get from Auckland to Tongariro National Park without a car is to train which takes 6 hours and costs between $50 and $100. The nice thing about the train ride is the scenery you’ll see on the way as the ride is part of the ‘Northern Explorer’ train ride. Trains don’t operate daily so check the schedules online.


InterCity operates a daily bus from Auckland to Ohakune, which is close to Tongariro. You can then shuttle to Tongariro.

Buses to Ohakune leave Auckland from the Sky City bus terminal at 102 Hobson Street, Auckland Central and arrive in Ohakune outside Hello World, 27 Clyde Street.

The trip from Auckland to Ohakune takes approximately 6 hours 30 minutes, with stops and meal breaks along the way.

How hard is it to walk the Tongariro Crossing?

The walk takes around six to eight hours with an ascent to 1886 metres. So while the tracks are all clearly marked, it’s common to encounter slippery and steep sections. The Tongariro Crossing is a moderate-level hike and, given its length and difficult terrain, requires hikers to be of a good level of fitness.

What is the best time of year to do the Tongariro Crossing?

Summer is the most popular time to enjoy the hike. The summer hiking season is from November through to the end of April. 

During this time about 130,000 people hike the Crossing. Click here for everything you need to know about hiking the mighty Tongariro Crossing.