Tongariro Crossing, the popular one-day trek across Mt Tongariro in the central North Island, is being renamed the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

The Department of Conservation said the new name better reflected the nature and terrain of the 18.5km trek after a constant battle to impress on visitors the dangers of the alpine conditions.

The name was chosen at a meeting of representatives from DoC, Tourism New Zealand, the Tourism Industry Association, the Ministry of Tourism and police.

DoC's Turangi-Taupo area manager, Dave Lumley, said many visitors who did the crossing were underprepared in terms of equipment and expectation.


"People often get caught out because they don't realise how quickly our weather changes or the level of fitness needed."

Guiding is not allowed on the trek, but DoC is looking at permitting professional guides.

About 65,000 people are estimated to do the crossing each year.

Last year, it claimed two lives, and several people were caught out by hypothermia this year.