National Park and the Tongariro Crossing

National Park Travel Blog

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Erica at the start when the weather looked nice

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.

Heading back down! View from the way down
  It was just as well, because there was another huge incline to tackle!!! 

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!

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Erica at the start when the weathe…
Erica at the start when the weath…
Heading back down!  View from the …
Heading back down! View from the…
THe weather was much nice the next…
THe weather was much nice the nex…
View from the start
View from the start
Mount Doom
"Mount Doom"
The path on the way up.
The "path" on the way up.
View from the top of the first cli…
View from the top of the first cl…
The weather starting to close-in
The weather starting to close-in
Walking across the first crater an…
Walking across the first crater a…
The Emerald Lake (through the mist…
The Emerald Lake (through the mis…
View on the way back down
View on the way back down
Erica in her poncho!
Erica in her poncho!
National Park
photo by: Paulovic