"Tongariro Crossing" Top 5 Page for this destination Hamilton Things to Do Tip by manstone
Hamilton Things to Do: 14 reviews and 35 photos
This is definetely one of the "must do"s when visiting the North Island. However, as it is not exactly off the beaten path, you'll risk up walking in line for most of the trip. To avoid this, try starting from the other end of the hike than the usual (I can't remember the name, but ask around at the tourist office in Tapuo, then do the exaxt opposite route of what they recommend...) For this you will need to have your own car, as all the tourist buses basically drop you off at the other end and then drive to the finish/starting point to pick you up.
What I did was to start off a little late, an then spend about 2 hrs up to the first hut called Ketetahi hut. It lies in beautiful surroundings, close to a sacred hotspring (not allowed to visit..!), and is a perfect place for small trips or just relax in the sunshine. The next day, after leaving my big pack at the hut wit the warden, I went up to the main plateu while passing extinct volcanoes and deep blue lakes. When I came to about half-way (you'll see a steep gravel road, which is a pain to climb) the people from the tourist buses started showing up. Instead of continuing where they came from, I took a left and was suddenly on the moon! Walking in an enourmous crater there was no other people around, and it felt surreal. From here, I navigated my way back to the hut which was fairly easy as the landscape was all flat. On the way, you had a view of almost the entire North Island. When I came back, there was still enough time to get down to the car before dark. Anyway, it woul probably be better to stay one more nights, as there was heaps more to explore.
I visited in late fall, which is probably the best time to go because of less tourists and not too hot to climb. Oh, and you have to pay to stay in the huts, which is cheaper if you pay in advance at the tourist office in Tapuo.
Directions: The Middle of North Island, close to lake Tapuo.