Finally on the 4th try we got to do the Tongariro crossing. On the 3rd March, the weather was looking perfect so we took the day off work and headed over on the Wednesday night. Hugh the car camper came in handy again and we arrived at 8.30 reclined the chairs and watched The Night Manager on my ipad – great night.
If you don’t know, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is described as one of NZ’s greatest day walks and it climbs over the volcanos in the centre of the North Island.
It was an early start the next day for the shuttle bus that drops you off at the start and picks you up later, our bus was at 7am. We got to the start of the crossing both equipped with everything we needed – you are told to be well prepared due to the weather changing quickly on the mountain (we weren’t too sure about the two Chinese girls in jeans with only a carton of milk). The walk is around 20k and the first 10 are all uphill, the first part of the walk starts very gently but as you start to climb the main volcano – it is tough! Climbing steeply over lava fields for 10k it was very tiring. It was that tiring (I will admit I am a bit unfit at the moment) that I asked Chris to call me a helicopter at one point (dramatic). I had to get confirmation off my friends Stacey that did it in January that she found it hard too!
When you get to the top though it is worth it, the views are amazing. We walked past Ngauruhoe (When spoken Narahoey) which is Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings. It is enormous and a 3 hour extra trip up steep shingle which you are advised not to do as it’s quite dangerous (we saw the two Chinese girls with the milk climb up there!) We ate lunch at the bottom of Mount Doom it was pretty cool. The next feature is the Red Crater which is an enormous volcanic crater that you can look right into, you can feel the heat coming through the ground all around it. The whole walk was crazy it was like being on the moon (I think anyway I have never been)!
My favourite part has to be when for a start we started going downhill and we saw the iconic Emerald Lakes they were beautiful. Three bright green lakes sat together in a desolate environment it was special. The walk down to them was a challenge it was steep sand and people were just sliding down. After this it was onto the blue lake and then the decent down the mountain.
There were three buses one at 2.30pm, 4.00pm and 5.30pm, we were just on track to make the 2.30pm and we didn’t want to miss it. We set of down the mountain which was a windy gravel track for the first park and it slowly descended into jungle. This was probably the longest and most tiring part for us. As we were having to keep a fast pace to make the bus the downhill walking juts killed your legs! We made it with 10 minutes to spare and it was brilliant.
I am so glad we did it and all the effort was worth it and the weather was perfect! We were very tired we had to stop in a scenic lookout on the way home for a sleep. What an amazing walk it was though 🙂