Tongariro Crossing New Zealand

I have lived outside NZ now for 14 years…. insane! I decided every time I go back I have to do something new that I haven’t done so I can be a traveller at home. Relive the beauty and experience what travellers I meet around the world keep telling me when they learn I am from New Zealand – “Oh my god its the most beautiful place I have ever been”.  I always feel so happy and proud when they go on to tell me about how friendly and hospitable people are and what an amazing time they had visiting.

So I decided to do the Tongariro Crossing with my best friend from growing up last year when I was home. A 20km day hike, one of the most popular in the country, heading up and over some craters, past volcanos, incredible scenery and will take you  7-9 hours.

Start of the trail from

Start of the trail

The first section is a easy climb up from the starting point at Mangatepopo car park to Soda springs on some really nice board walks.

Nice path cuts through

Nice path cuts through the long grasses and old lava flow

Once you reach Soda springs you have a pretty quick 200m climb up to the South Crater which is a huge flat expanse and you can take a nice break walking across it. Some keen people take the side detour and head up and down Mount Ngauruhoe – I wasn’t up for the challenge but next time will for sure take it on. It’s all volcanic rock so a challenging scramble on your hands for some of it!

Looking back across the crater to Ng

Looking back across the South crater to Mount Ngauruhoe

Once across the South crater you make a climb up onto an exposed ridge that can be windy and cold. You get stunning 360 views back over Mount Ngauruhoe and across the crater and out over the valley below as well. Our day was picture perfect… a few clouds but a beautiful clear day!

iPHONE panorama of he view overlooking the South crater

iPHONE panorama of the view overlooking the South crater

Daph checking out N

Daph checking out Mount Ngauruhoe

At the peak there is another option to head up onto Tongariro or you can continue along the crossing path and head down towards the red crater.

Top of the crossing before heading down past the Emerald lakes to the red crater

Top of the crossing before heading down past the Emerald lakes to the red crater

I decided to put my camera away for this decent which was a good idea as the rock was really loose under foot and I bit the dirt when I was just standing admiring the view. There were a few people I saw take some good slides down.

Views of the Emerald lakes, red crater and up to the Blue lake

Views of the Emerald lakes, red crater and up to the Blue lake

Minerals from the rocks around give the Emerald lakes their colour. There is a distinct sulphur smell in the air which comes from the vents near the lakes.

iPHONE panorama overlooking the Emerald Lakes, Red Crater and up to the Blue Lake

iPHONE panorama overlooking the Emerald Lakes, Red Crater and up to the Blue Lake

We had a laugh at what we thought this looked like

Some interesting landscape as a result of volcanic activity

Taking a short break enjoying the views

Taking a short break enjoying great day and views

Emerald Lakes

Emerald Lakes

The Emerald lakes are a great spot to take a lunch break. Once you leave them you continue across the red crater and start the last wee climb up towards the Blue Lake.

Looking back across the red crater

Looking back across the red crater

The blue lake is considered Tapu (sacred) so its disrespectful to drink and eat – so don’t stop here for a break, even though it looks really inviting to take a dip.

Heading around the blue lake looking back

Heading around the blue lake looking back

Daph coming around the blue Lake

Daph coming around the blue Lake

Down the final section

Down the final section looking over Lake Taupo and Lake Rotorua

Final leg home

Final leg home

The final leg is from the North crater down to Ketetahi Hut and the car park. This for me was the most challenging part of the trek as it is a number of switch backs, where you can see the trail the whole way and feel like you’re not getting anywhere.

I think the camera went away at this stage and we just got into the grind of finishing the hike. Was a fun day and as long as you have some sort of base fitness you will be fine doing the walk – the scenery and good company will see you through!

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One thought on “Tongariro Crossing New Zealand

  1. ​Wow…..absolutely stunning!

    Hope all is well with you.

    Best Regards,​

    Mark Bromhead

    Managing Director

    1701 Wanchai Commercial Centre — 194 Johnston Road — Wanchai — HONG KONG

    Direct +852 2893 5225 Mobile +852 9775 0086 Website http://www.villageinsurancedirect.com

    ________________________________

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