National Park and the Tongariro Crossing
National Park Travel Blog› entry 8 of 25 › view all entries
There was very little in "National Park Village", only a few houses, hostels, a pub and a petrol station, we came here not for the exciting nightlife and sprawling metropolis - we were here for the famous Tongariro Crossing.
We were up at about 6.15 to get the bus over to the start of the crossing. We had prepared well with the right clothing and food and drink (as is necessary), although the weather looked great and we were not really expecting rain on the 18km trek. THe mountain and volcano range dominates the skyline for many miles around and one of the volcanos is used in the Lord of the Rings as Mount Doom. We started along at a moderate pace on the flat, then we reached the "Devil's Staircase", which looked quite daunting, it wasn't much of a path and was more of a scramble up the side of the mountain than a walk! We made it up to find at the top it was very misty and wasn't much to see as we walked across the vast crater.
To cap it off, it started to rain and the temprature dropped dramatically and it became "less enjoyable" very quickly as well! We eventually reached the very top (although the map had told us that several times before so we didn't completely trust it!). It was a bit of a scramble down very soft loose earth to the bottom of the summit area - it was difficult to keep your footing and falling on your backside, especially as the rain and wind made conditions even less pleasant, we were grateful to be able stop for a bit, although the fabulous views that were promised simply could not be seen due to the low cloud level!
We moved swiftly onwards and further down and spend the next 3 hours walking downhill, which did cause a lot of strain on our knees, despite the conditions, we made it in a very respectable 6 hours and 10 minutes. We were grateful to reach teh carpark on the other side and get back to our hostel, which although was basic we greeted like it was the 7* Dubai hotel because we were so worn-out!