Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Tongariro Crossing

Today we did the Tongariro Crossing(19km / 7 hours) , one of the NZ Great Walks, and also known to be one of the best one day hikes in the country. The track winds up the Mangatepopo Valley to the saddle between Mt. Tongariro and Mt. Ngauruhoe. It climbs to Red Crater (altitude gain of almost 1km) and then drops down to the vivid Emerald Lakes. After passing Blue Lake, the track descends around the northern slope of Mt. Tongariro, then descends in a zig zag to the Ketetahi Hut. The last part of the track goes through the Ketetahi Hot Springs and then some very pretty forest. We woke up early to meet the 7am bus from the Turangi information center, for the 20 minute drive into Tongariro National Park to the start of the track:

This was an amazing hike - so beautiful and varied. We especially enjoyed climbing the Devil's Staircase, walking across a crater, looking into Red Crater at the top, and popping over the edge of the ridge to look down at the spectacular emerald and blue lakes.

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