Tongariro National Park
Taupo, New Zealand
Tongariro National Park Taupo Reviews
Fantastic; a walk to never to forget! Oct 20, 2000
The Tongariro crossing, a crossing of Mt Tongariro near Turangi, Central North Island is extremely popular. It is crowded in summer with often over 200 people in one day. It is a great crossing in winter but due to snow, alpine skills, ice axe and crampons are essential. In winter, a high standard of navigational skill may be required as the poles marking the track may be buried in snow and mist may reduce visbility to 10m or less.
This is a lengthy day walk from Mangatepopo road end to the Ketatahi road. Steep climbs, good views, volcanic terrain and colourful lakes. This is an alpine crossing, dangerous in bad weather. The only water en route is at two huts; one at the start of the track and the other at the end.
A side trip to the summit of Ngauruhoe adds two hours of mostly hard, steep walking, but provides excellent views on a good day, and a great run down the scree slopes on the way back. A short and easy side trip (one hour return from Red Crater) can be made to the much less spectacular summit of Tongariro.
Red Crater can be entered from near the Emerald Lakes by walking up the steaming slope south of the lakes. Frodo and Sam walked up this slope during their vacation in Mordor. Blue Lake is sacred to Maori and is tapu, so treat him with respect.
A short scramble off-track leads to North Crater and a sidle around the massif from near Ketatahi takes you to the Te Maari craters.
A better option than the one-day walk is to do the three-day northern circuit. This begins at Mangatepopop or Whakapapa, heads over the crossing (Camping is possible in the north end of South Crater, there is usually water flowing from a spring here, but not in very dry weather), then makes a short detour to Blue Lake, then down to Oturere Hut. Lava formations make Oturere Valley fantastic in miserable weather. Oturere Hut has a great waterfall nearby.
From Oturere head across desert, then through beech forest to Waihohonu Hut. Another side trip leads to the stunning Ohinepango cold springs (15 minutes from the hut), then the track heads over the gentle Tama Saddle and back to Whakapapa. A side trip on this section leads to two deep explosion craters which form Tama Lakes.
There are good free camping spots by the stream or cold springs (to the north of Waihohonu Hut, not Ohinepango Springs, which are to the south) in Waihohonu Valley, and beside Upper Tama Lake (a bit hard to get to)
If hitch-hiking, the easiest way to the circuit is from the Desert Road (State Highway One, the main Auckland-Wellington road), taking the track to Waihohonu Hut (1 to 2 hours). You’ll need a map to know where to find the start of the track.
In good weather it’s possible to complete the circuit in two days, but three or four is more sensible.
I did myself the one day walk of the Tongariro Crossing! It is really amazing, great views and very pleasure and sometimes dangerous walk!
It is really a "must to do" thing. Im really glad that I have chosen this crossing. It is one of my best adventures I have done in New Zealand and most enjoyable one. If you have time spend more days! ;)
Part of the list New Zealand
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