The Tongariro Crossing
Tongariro Travel Blog› entry 29 of 117 › view all entries
On our first night in Taupo I played five-a-side footy with some guys who had clubbed together to get a game from the people at local hostels. Needless to say, we ran out comfortable winners, but the standard was only Rymans Football League compared to the Champions League that was Newcastle Powerleague - big shout out to the Legends Of Subtitling Heroes. Then it was back to a pub which had the highlights of the Premiership, too.
That was all good for getting the legs warmed up for the next day's festivities, the Tongariro Crossing. Dubbed by our Rough Guide as the best one-day hike in New Zealand, the 18.5km trek (without adding side trails) takes you over volcanic terrain, along the slopes of volcanoes Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngaurohoe and Mount Ruapehu.
Blearry-eyed, we started our 10-hour journey, and before we did we asked a lady to take a photo of us at the start. Even after asking her to retake her blurred effort, she still couldn't manage to hold a point-and-shoot camera and press a button on still objects. Luckily, the scenery we were to be treated with, like that of the Iguazu Falls in Argentina, meant that only she, or perhaps a blind person or someone in a coma, could possibly end up without a great set of photos as a souvenir for all the hard walking.
We started our ascent, and luckily we were starting the trail the easier way round - as in if you go the other way there is a far more gradual uphill battle at first, then a sharp downhill to finish.
Then back on the Tongariro Circuit main, we took a while to take in the awesome views looking into the Red Crater, with its red and brown hues, and appearing as if something has taken a monster-sized bite out of it. We ate lunch next to the beautiful Emerald Lakes which, due to the sulpher content, had the familiar eggy smell we had so missed from our time in Rotorua. Then we began the descent, which seemed to go on forever. A predicted three and a half hours turned into five as the winding track down the face of the mountain took what seemed like forever. Feeling exhausted at the bottom at five o'clock, we were glad to have completed what was about a 24-25km trek on challenging terrain and glad to take off the smelly walking boots and hang them up for a couple of weeks, at least.