Tongariro Crossing struggling to cope with hordes of tourists

Major changes are likely for one of New Zealand's most popular and iconic walks.

The Tongariro Crossing is struggling to cope with hordes of tourists and a review led by iwi and the Department of Conservation (DOC) is looking to limit the numbers descending upon the track.

It's one of the most beautiful day walks in the world, a jewel in the crown of New Zealand hiking, attracting tourists from the world over. 

But overcrowding is causing major problems - the tiny car park is always full and tensions are running high.

"There should never be road rage in a carpark in the National Park. That's just a symptom of the stress being put on the taonga," says Te Ngaehe Wanikau from Ngāti Tūwharetoa.

The toilets are struggling to cope too.

Local iwi picked up six buckets of human waste on a single day last Labour Weekend. 

The track is equipped to handle around 600 walkers daily but on busy days it's getting as many as 3000.

Visitor numbers have been increasing 15 percent year-on-year with around 125,000 people walking the crossing last year.

A review has been launched and both iwi and DOC are in favour of closing the Mangatepopo carpark at the start of the track and allowing access only through shuttle services based in towns like Taupo and Ohakune.

A portion of the shuttle fees would go towards upkeep of the track.

They also want a limit put on the number of people that can be dropped off daily. 

"We can't take the 'let's build bigger tracks' approach - you're virtually cutting the branch you're sitting on, then it ends with almost a motorway going through there and you've lost it, the magic's gone," says Mr Wanikau.

A decision's likely to be made before the next hiking season begins in October.