Hiking Tongariro National Park

Hiking Tongariro National Park was a spectacular addition to our 4 month long bicycle tour of New Zealand. We had ridden from Auckland, all the way around the Coromandel Peninsula before heading inland to Lake Taupo. From Taupo, we planned to cycle around the East Cape.

 

It was time to take a break from cycling.

We couldn’t think of anything more exciting to do than hiking the famous Tongariro Crossing through the volcanic terrain of Tongariro National Park.

Tongariro National Park is home to three still active volcanoes.

 

 

Hiking Tongariro National Park-Satelite view-Mt Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, & Tongariro

Mt Ruapehu, at 9,176′ is the most active and the highest in the park as well as on North Island New Zealand. It last erupted in September of 2007.

Mt Ngauruhoe was the next highest at 7,516′. The last eruption was in 1977. One can make a side trip of an additional 3 hours and hike a rather strenuous trail-less route to the summit.

Mt Tongariro is the smallest of the three volcanoes (far right in the photo)but historically is a giant in Maori tradition. The Tongariro Crossing passes over the flank of this volcano. Hikers also summit this volcano.

 

 

The Tongariro Crossing is the most popular route for hiking Tongariro National Park. Approximately 70,000 trekkers a year follow this route! Tour companies, especially in Taupo, provide shuttle service to the trail head at Mangatepopo Valley and pick up at Ketetahi Road.It is an arduous day hike, about 7 to 8 hours, with several steep climbing sections.

The trail starts out relatively flat across a great expanse of grassland. Since all the tour buses tend to arrive at the same time, it can be a zoo. We found, however, that many folks darted off as fast as they could hoping, we guess, to stay in front of the crowds. We hung back and soon enjoyed the trail to ourselves!

A steep winding, rocky path with steep steps (devil’s staircase) leads up to another plateau about 650′ higher in elevation.

The grasses have disappeared; old lava flows have smothered their ability to grow.

We are crossing what is known as South Crater.

Hiking Tongariro National Park New ZealandHiking Tongariro National Park New Zealand

We cross South Crater towards another steep climb up to Red Crater. Mt Ngauruhoe is in the background.

Hiking Tongariro National Park New Zealand
Hiking Tongariro National Park New Zealand
Hiking Tongariro National Park New Zealand
Hiking Tongariro National Park New Zealand

Red Crater is fascinating.

The trail hugs the rim of this vast hole lined with colorful rock formations. 

We are on the flank of Mt Tongariro.

Hiking Tongariro National Park New Zealand

Hiking Tongariro National Park New Zealand

From Red Crater, the trail drops precipitously down a loose scree slope to Central Basin.

This was perhaps our favorite part of the hike.

The Emerald Lakes glistened below.

The decidedly different colored Blue Lake was clearly visible on the next plateau. 

Hiking Tongariro National Park New Zealand
Hiking Tongariro National Park New Zealand
Hiking Tongariro National Park New Zealand

After ascending to Blue Lake, the trail crosses a small saddle and begins a very long descent to Ketetahi Road where the shuttle awaits. On the descent, hikers can see Lake Taupo in the distance.

It’s the end of a very long, arduous day. We will be glad to get back on our bicycles!

Hiking Tongariro National Park New Zealand
Tongariro National Park
Hiking Tongariro National Park New Zealand

Hiking Tongariro National Park New Zealand

Mt Cook National Park
Hiking Mt Cook National Park New Zealand

Hiking Mt Cook National Park New Zealand

St James Walkway
Hiking St James Walkway-New Zealand

Anne Hut to Boyle Flat

Copyright Material

All rights reserved. No part of this page may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including downloading, print screen, photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the prior written permission by the copyright owner.

 

Plugin Engineered By Previous Post/Next Post Navigator
Visit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On LinkedinCheck Our Feed