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Tongariro Crossing - Am I fit enough?

Adelaide, Australia
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Tongariro Crossing - Am I fit enough?

Hello,

I'm coming to New Zealand in March and I'm interested in doing the Tongariro crossing. Everything I've read says you need a "reasonable" level of fitness. I'm just wondering what this means?

I'd like to think that I'm reasonably fit but that probably depends on who I'm being compared to. I go to the gym 4-5 times a week to do cardio and 1 session with my PT. But I'm (technically) overweight at size 14. Someone looking at me probably wouldn't think I was very fit but I do enjoy hiking at home and I love to include some hikes anytime I go on holiday.

I've heard that parts of the crossing are quite challenging. I really want to give this a go but I don't want to go with a group and end up slowing everyone down. I've recently lost a bit of weight and I'm going to try before I leave to lose a bit more but I'm not expecting any miracles.

Any advice?

Thanks

Nelson-Tasman...
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1. Re: Tongariro Crossing - Am I fit enough?

I think you will be fine. It really isnt that hard, except for a short steep bit up the devils staircase, The greatest issue is people who are illprepared and honestly try walking it in jandals, or without warm gear. I found the hardest part downhill. People of many shapes and sizes do this walk every day. The fact that you do exercise and hikes makes me believe you will enjoy the stunning walk.

You have plenty of time to do some walking before hand as well.

the weather can change in alpine areas so take jacket, and warm gear, as well as sunhat!

Christchurch
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2. Re: Tongariro Crossing - Am I fit enough?

Can you walk for 6 to 8 hours and 18km? If so then you will be fine. Whilst exercising at the gym will get you fit it is a different kind of fitness to being able to walk long distances. If you haven't already then start doing some serious training to get your feet and body used to hiking by doing lots of walking, especially up and down hills and you should manage the crossing fine.

Christchurch, New...
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3. Re: Tongariro Crossing - Am I fit enough?

If you're unsure about how you will go, consider doing some specific training beforehand. Gymwork will help but getting out walking will be the best preparation. You could try out a comparable walk before you go. The Tongariro Crossing is 19kms and an 800m climb if you start from the Mangatepopo end. I would build up to a day walk of 14 or 15kms and 400 - 600m climb in preparation. If you complete that, you will do fine when you have the extra adrenaline (and fantastic views hopefully) on the day :-)

Melbourne
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4. Re: Tongariro Crossing - Am I fit enough?

I recently did the Crossing with my sister who is a size 16 and reasonably fit like you. She didn't find it too difficult but you MUST come fully prepared for the weather. I saw fit people struggle, not from exhaustion but from the elements. You MUST bring gloves, a fleece, an excellent rain coat, hiking pants, hiking boots, sun hat and a first aid kit. We did the hike with a professional guide via Adventure Outdoors and her experience was invaluable during the crossing. She knew precisely when to add another layer of clothing and how to shelter from inclement weather. She also educated us about the landscape which added to the experience. Best of luck! You're going to love it. IMO the Crossing is the best thing you can do in NZ, it's truly remarkable!

Toronto, Canada
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5. Re: Tongariro Crossing - Am I fit enough?

I have also found the differing reports about Tongariro confusing... from "it's not as hard as people say" to "I passed people crying" and "my friends barely made it alive"... :/

What are jandals??

I am also planning on doing the crossing in March, maybe I will see you there melly... hopefully I won't be one of the "crying" ones :)

Melbourne
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6 posts
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6. Re: Tongariro Crossing - Am I fit enough?

The people I saw crying were those ill-prepared for the weather. If you have all the right gear then you will enjoy the hike. If you don't, you will struggle no matter what your fitness level.

Wellington, NZ
Destination Expert
for Wellington
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7. Re: Tongariro Crossing - Am I fit enough?

Jandals: www.google.co.nz/search… They are terrible for your feet on the flat, let alone on an alpine crossing.

Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: Tongariro Crossing - Am I fit enough?

Ohhh lol flip flops! I can't believe anyone would attempt to do this wearing pieces of foam barely clinging to their toes!

So basically-- be well-prepared with your clothing and food/water, and be reasonably fit for a long hike. I think I am ready to deal with the cold (it hit -40C here with the wind chill last week and I still managed to walk to work) but I think I saw on the metservice website that the winds can go up to 90 km/hr!!!! That's pretty scary. How do you deal with that?

Wellington, NZ
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for Wellington
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9. Re: Tongariro Crossing - Am I fit enough?

90km/h is nothing. We had a storm last year where then wind hit around 150km/h at the airport, and 202km/h on an exposed hill near us. It is very unpleasant walking in gusty conditions though, and if it is forecast to be that windy I would skip the walk.

New Zealand
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10. Re: Tongariro Crossing - Am I fit enough?

I agree with what has been previously said, you shouldn't have any issues with the hike and it is fabulous. It is also very busy, you will never feel alone. Because you start and finish at different places the best way to get thee is to get a shuttle from your accommodation, they will not leave at the end of the day until everyone they dropped off is accounted for at the end.

Usually they leave at various times during the morning so take an earlier shuttle and be prepared to stop and rest while enjoying the scenery.

We got turned back last year in the summer due to bad weather so again definetly take layers of clothing suitable for all conditions, lots of water and some energy food.

The other item I would strongly recommend and you can hire them if needed is a walking pole. Enjoy, it's a great hike and not too difficult.

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