Blogs from Tongariro National Park, North Island, New Zealand, Oceania


Sunday 16th Few more days and its the end of tour for me. But first had to get passed this crossing. The Tongariro Crossing is in Tongariro National Park, which was the first national park in NZ and the fourth in the world with three volcanoes, of which we could see the steam coming out of vents as we drove closer. The three volcanoes all active still and are called Mount Ruapehu, Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro. Ruapehu is the oldest volcano where as Ngauruhoe is the youngest. Both Ruapehu and Tongariro have vents of steam in the sides of the volcanoes but Ngauruhoe is a conical volcano. Ngauruhoe is also famous because it was used as the volcano known as Mount Doom, Mordor in Lord of the Rings. The crossing itself doesn't take us over ... read more

Today I faced the mighty Tongariro Alpine Crossing! It's a day hike, about 20 km (13 miles) long, traveling up to the base of some active volcanoes and then over and down. It's ranked as one of the most picturesque day hikes in the world, and, importantly, mount Tongariro is what they used for Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings. The crossing does not begin or end in the same place, you hike from one carpark (parking lot) to another, so you have to arrange some sort of transportation to drop you off and pick you up. I'd arranged transport with the Alpine Hot Bus via email before leaving the states, and it was due to pick me up from Mike and Kicki's (see the next entry for all about Kicki and Mike!) at ... read more

Leaving Rotorua behind, I headed towards the centre of the North Island and Taupo. On the the way there were a couple more stops... another thermal area and a waterfall. Craters Of The Moon, which unlike the ones in Rotorua, have almost no smell and no sulphur crystals forming at any of the vents. Because of this, the name is kind of deceptive as there is vegetation growing all around the area. Certainly made for a much more pleasant visit though. This area is still highly active with eruptions happening all the time. The last major one was in 2002 which makes me think that it is long overdue and maybe not such a good idea to stick around for too long. Now when I mentioned a waterfall, what I meant to say was The Mother ... read more
Huka Falls 5
Huka Falls 14
Tongariro NP 2

Wake up to very low cloud but dry…hoorah! About 15 of us from the hostel pile on the shuttle at 7.15am and by 8am are walking into the mist and haze that is this famous landscape. Everyone has a different pace so we naturally all split down with Alex, Graham, Will and I all walking together. The beginning of the walk, to the soda springs was quite an errie feel, thanks to the fact you couldn’t see anything around except the outline of big mountains either side of you. After soda springs we reached an area known as the ‘devils staircase’, and an hour later when we reached the top we knew why, wooden steps in the mountain alternated with steep paths, sure took it out of us. At the top of the ‘devils staircase’ I ... read more

Mike very kindly dropped me at the bus station, and I was on the bus zooming out of Wellington at 9am. We had a few stops at little towns along the way – nothing to note apart from incredibly quiet and small – nothing to them! The lunch stop was a little bigger, but again, eerily quiet, and the only shops included every type of fast food place (MacDonald’s, KFC, Subway, Burger King), lots of second hand furniture/antique style shops…but not high end antiques, and cafes selling Fish and Chips. At Turangi I changed bus with most other people, on to a shuttle to the National Park Village, where we arrived at 4pm, in torrential rain. I have had my heart set on doing a walk known as the Northern Circuit, here in the Tongariro National ... read more


Last night the hostel partied hard... We however did not as we had to begin our journey to the national park at 5.30am. I barely slept a wink but I think that may have been a mixture of the loud music and the adrenaline from the sky dive. We started the track at 7.00am and had a 10 hour walk ahead of us. Due to the volcanic eruption in August 2012 part of the original crossing is closed, therefore we opted for the 'highlights' walk which includes the famous Mount Doom from The Lord of the Rings. I can safely say that this was the hardest mountain I've ever climbed, but the views from the top were phenomenal. I particularly liked the emerald lakes, that looked beautiful amidst the brown volcanic soil. Infact if you picked ... read more

Jan attemped to conquer the Tongariro Crossing. Been there, done that. Small detail, he forgot the ring. He will have to come back another time...... read more
Red Crater
Red Crater

Even though I had been waking up around 6 every morning, going up at 5 was really hard. But I manage to get up, pack all my food and lots of water and went out to meet up Mia. She picked me up and we got down to Taupo, met up with her friend Luke and hop on the shuttle that would drive us the 1.5h to the begin of the Tongariro Alpine Cross. Normally you go across the mountain and get picked up on the other side, but as I mention in the previous post the Northern part of the crossing are closed since they fear more eruptions. Tongariro is one of many active volcanoes in New Zealand and this one erupted twice last fall so I was told that if it erupted while we ... read more

7 Uhr in der Früh fuhr der Bus von der Blue Duck Station los, zurück zum National Park. Entlang der Schotterpiste ging es mit Unterhaltung von Simpsons der Film. Gegen 8 Uhr sind wir im kleinen Örtchen zum National Park angekommen. Heute steht eine Wanderung über 7h an! Der Himmel ist an diesem Morgen sehr neblig, man sieht kleine Partikel vor sich in der Luft umher fliegen. 28 Leute haben sich für die Wanderung angemeldet. Aufgrund der Wetterbedingung gehen einige davon aus, dass es kein schönes Wanderwetter ist und canceln den Trip. Somit sind wir 16 Leute, welche den Trip wagen. Nach einer kurzen Einweisung geht es in den Bus und ab zum Ausgangspunkt der Wanderung. Es geht einen langen Weg entlang, bis man nach 1h den Fuß des Berges erreicht. Nach einigen Fotos werden die ... read more

Wir machten einen kurzen Zwischenstopp im kleinen Örtchen National Park, wo wir einige Schnappschüsse machten und dann ging es den holprigen Weg in Richtung „Blue Duck Station“. Wir haben ein super Wetter wieder und so erwartet uns hier eine sonnige Berglandschaft. Einiges erinnert an die Alpen. So sind hier auch einige Kühe, aber mehr Schafe, auf den Hügeln frei umherlaufend und es gibt auch Bienenstöcke. Die Gegend hier ist auch bekannt für ihren Akazienhonig (???). Wie der Name unserer heutigen Unterkunft verrät, geht es hier größtenteils um die „Blue Duck“. Um die Station ist größtenteils Privatland, wo versucht wird im Einklang mit der Natur zu leben, wie es in Neuseeland größtenteils gemacht wird. Neben dem Tier- und Umweltschutz soll die blaue Ente wieder angesiedelt werden. Für diesen Nachmittag habe ich mich für eine „Bush Safari“ ... read more

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