Tongariro Crossing ...... Frodo can't find Mt Doom!

Tongariro Travel Blog

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Tongariro Crossing information board

5:45am. I'm having breakfast. Kim is sitting next to me eating a bowl of cornflakes. She's looking a bit amazed at me. "How can you eat that?!", she asks. Well, it's gonna be a tough day so that's why I'm eating a heavy breakfast. It's actually quite common in the Chinese dietary to eat noodles for breakfast. Maybe she's a little bit disgusted by the fact I also just finished a bowl of cereals. Nevertheless, I want to make sure I have enough energy to walk the Tongariro Crossing today. This trail is often described as the finest one-day walk in New Zealand. Well, I really don't want to miss that! After my breakfast I have to make some sandwiches (ham+eggs) for lunch. I need to hurry up because the bus will pick us up at 6:20am at the Base hostel in Taupo where I'm staying at.

Can't wait to start this track
It will take about 80 minutes to get to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

8:00am. I'm standing in front of the Mangatepopo car park waiting for the others. I will be walking this track with six other people that I've met on the Bay of Islands. Andy, Ben and Rob are renting some jackets and shoes for this hike. It's really convenient that you can rent all kinds of gear on the bus. I'm wearing hiking shorts. I do have trousers with me but I think I will wear them when I get cold which may happen because we will be walking through snow during this 18.5 km track. The weather is not really good. It's misty with some sprinkles. I hope it will clear up so we can enjoy the scenery during this hike.

9:45am. We are having our first break. Andy and Ben can't stop swearing.

"Devils Staircase"
"Whose f*cking idea was it to do this f*cking walk!?!". Katie and Darren are very quiet. They're too tired to talk. Rob, Kim and I are looking at each other. We knew this hike wasn't going to be easy. The first hour was an easy hike up the valley to "Soda Springs". From there we walked to the "South Crater". This is a really steep section. It's basically 45 minutes of climbing. This section is also called the "Devils Staircase". It's a really nasty climb and I may have sweared a couple of times during this section. Behing me there is a sign "Mt Ngauruhoe" pointing to the left. This is the start of the summit track to this volcano better known as "Mt Doom" in Lord of the Rings. I'm a bit disappointed because the fog is too thick to see this volcano.

10:45am.

Dunno?!?
We are having our second break at the top of the "Red Crater". This section was still a continuous climb up and has big drops on either side where you really don't want to fall down. Andy and Ben stopped swearing because they are tired just like Katie and Darren who are looking really sad now. We've walked through snow and passed a sign that pointed to "Mt Tongariro". I'm gutted because I still haven't seen both volcanoes due to the mist. There's no snow on top of the "Red Crater" because the rocks up here are warm. It's really nice up here.

12:30pm. Lunch time at Ketetahi Hut. We are all in a better mood now. We have seen the Emerald Lakes. Very nice. We've mostly gone down hill with short sections of climbing up. It's quite dangerous coming down the "Red Crater" as the track is mostly loose scree.

The "Central Crater"
I basically walked and sled down this crater. The walk inside the "Central Crater" is beautiful. The sky has started to clear up, however it's still too misty and cloudy to see the volcanoes. I realize I won't see the volcanoes today because from here we will be walking on the other side of the mountain which blocks are view of the volcanoes. It's just 1.5-2.0 hours walk to the end of the track. We will get to see some hot water springs, creeks and rainforest. The track will be going down hill all the way from here.

2:05pm. We're at the end of the track. Katie and Darren have fallen asleep. The rest is laying on the ground. I'm tired but certainly not exhausted. Rob and I enjoyed this walk. Kim too but her pants are all wet because she felt in a creek. I'm glad to have walked this track even though we couldn't see the higlights of this walk.

Everybody is a bit tired
It feels like an achievement what we've done today. The Kiwibus drivers mentioned to do this walk only when the weather is good. Accoding to the weather forecast the weather should be fairly good with some clouds but I should have known the weather can change quickly in this area. The Tongariro Crossing was closed the next four days due to bad weather so many travellers haven't got the chance to walk this track.

If you're around Taupo and the weather is going to be good, do the Tongariro Crossing. It's really worth walking this unique track. I've seen pictures of people walking this track with clear blue sky and it looks stunning. Even though I walked though mist and rain, I've enjoyed this walk very much and would walk this track again when I get the chance for it next time.

Next destination: still in Taupo

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Tongariro Crossing information boa…
Tongariro Crossing information bo…
Cant wait to start this track
Can't wait to start this track
Devils Staircase
"Devils Staircase"
Dunno?!?
Dunno?!?
The Central Crater
The "Central Crater"
Everybody is a bit tired
Everybody is a bit tired
Its a bit misty
It's a bit misty
Landscape changes quickly
Landscape changes quickly
Happy to see the Emerald Lakes
"Happy to see the Emerald Lakes"
The Emerald Lake
The "Emerald Lake"
The lakes is very beautiful.
The lakes is very beautiful.
Look at the contrast: snow, water …
Look at the contrast: snow, water…
Looks cold here but it aint.
Looks cold here but it ain't.
Lots of snow.
Lots of snow.
Lunchtime!
Lunchtime!
The first hour is an easy walk up
The first hour is an easy walk up
Going down the mountain
Going down the mountain
The cloudmaker
The cloudmaker
This track is in total 18.5km long
This track is in total 18.5km long
Walking towards the forest
Walking towards the forest
Lots of water here (water is not c…
Lots of water here (water is not …
Forest walk .... approaching the e…
Forest walk .... approaching the …
Tongariro
photo by: annthansten