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Anyone who has done the Tongariro Alpine Crossing can relate to marvelling at the sheer beauty and scale of the landscape—wondering why the Red Crater is red, the Emerald Lakes are just so and whether the hot ground under your feet is likely to erupt.

So, to answer these, and many other questions, DOC has partnered with a Turangi-based community group, Project Tongariro, to create the Pocket Ranger—a free smartphone application set to transform the way visitors to Tongariro National Park get their information. 

The Pocket Ranger provides mapping, interpretation, and safety messages for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, as well as providing information about the local area, including accommodation, activities, transport, guiding and dining.

Taupo nui-a-Tia Area manager Dave Lumley telling tales about the crossing high above the Emerald Lakes

It has been developed so that it can be used as a ‘template’ that can be easily adapted for use in other great walks, national parks, cycle ways and mountain biking tracks. This means other organisations can take advantage of the research and financial investment that DOC and Project Tongariro have made, including licensing the technology, and won’t have to build an app. from scratch.

QR code for the Pocket Ranger

The latest version of the app. has video clips for each section of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and includes a Quick Response (QR) code reader. QR Codes will be placed on existing track markers, at points of interest along the way (e.g. the Red Crater) and, when scanned, the QR Code will lead users directly to the information or story relating to that point of interest.

Further development is being investigated in terms of GPS capabilities, more detailed mapping, and the ability to perform a ‘check in’ at the start of the track for safety.

Capturing the stunning landscape of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Check it out at www.tongariro.org.nz/pocketranger and let us know what you think!