Wellington – often regarded as the ‘coolest capital city in the world’.   It’s the 2nd biggest city in New Zealand’s North Island and plenty of people make the journey from here to take on the Tongariro Crossing.

Here’s how to get from Wellington to the Tongariro Crossing – but remember that you’ll be driving to one of the nearby townships that you can base yourself at, not the crossing itself.

The drive to the crossing takes place on the day of your walk, where you drive to the Ketetahi car park and leave your car securly for the day.


Driving from Wellington takes approximately 4 hr 21 min (340.9 km) via State Hwy 1.

Of course you are not going to drive directly to the start of the Tongariro Crossing. You’ll be heading to wherever your accommodation is, which is likely to be in one of the nearby townships. Here’s the common drive times.

  • Wellington to Turangi: 322 kms, 4.09 hours to drive
  • Wellington to Taupo: 372 km, 4.55 hours to drive
  • Wellington to National Park: 289 kms, 3.46 hours to drive
  • Wellington to Ohakune: 287 kms, 3.43 hours to drive


Going by train is a more relaxed option as you don’t have to drive, though it’s definitely less common. It takes around 5 hours on the train from Wellington to Ohakune. Be sure to check the schedules as the trains do not run every day.


InterCity operates daily Wellington to National Park buses and will take approximately 5 hours and 40 minutes.

Buses to National Park leave Wellington from the Railway Station, Platform 10 and arrive at the Station Cafe, Findlay Street, National Park.

Search for a bus Wellington to National Park with New Zealand’s most popular national bus network.