"Tongariro Alpine Crossing." National Park by kiwi
National Park Travel Guide: 21 reviews and 66 photos
We drove for 3 hours to get to this destination, from where I live. The day before the trek, we were blessed with the most amazingly clear and blue sky views. Here you see Mt Tongariro, where we were to find ourselves the next day. For most of us this really is a Once in a Lifetime Experience, as distance, and weather can truly stop a return visit. Tongariro National Park lies in two regions, Taupo and Manawato/Wanganui, and the Crossing is divided by the boundary of these regions.
DOC (Department of Conservation) describe this walk as "an extending trek over steep volcanic terrain".
The walk begins and ends at different places so you need to think about your transport arrangements. Transport operators from around the area, even Taupo, are obliged to pick up anyone they drop on the mountain. You can also get instructions from Visitor Information Centres and use your own vehicles. Just be sure to tell someone your intentions or leave a note in your vehicle or accommodation stating your intentions. This is to provide knowledge in the event of you becoming lost or injured.
It's only in volcanic areas where you find such beauty and magic such as this up the mountain. With the coloured lakes and moonlike terrain, it really is spectacular. With no birds and only tiny alpine plants hardly visible, you begin to see why they cast this area as Mordor, in Lord of the Rings.
The Reality Is ... That you are on an active volcano and here in the Red Crater is the vent where you can see steam and activity. While up on the highest part of the trek, you can really feel the atmosphere and smell the sulphur. There is no doubt here, that you are on a volcano!
From here you have amazing views down to the Central Plateau and the well known "Desert Road" section of State Highway No.1. During fine weather this is the main arterial route for vehicles between Auckland and Wellington.
- Pros:On a nice day you can see forever.
- Cons:The weather can change dramatically in a few hours.
- In a nutshell:Volcanic Plateau, plenty to explore.
Driving along the waterfront of Lake Taupo, we get a magnificent view of where we are headed. Here you can see (with... more travel advice
Good rucksack that sits comfortably on your back. A shoulder slung bag will soon annoy you very much. A front bag is... more travel advice
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