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

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Beste, Afgelopen weekend hebben we een trip gemaakt die mij wellicht de rest van mijn leven zal bijblijven, afgelopen weekend ben ik een berg opgelopen die onder andere ook gebruikt is door Peter Jackson als decor voor delen van Lord of The Rings: Tongariro National park. Dit tripje begon eigenlijk al heel vroeg in de voorafgaande week, het idee was dat we met een aantal mensen van stage in een hostel verbleven waarna zeer vroeg vertrokken kon worden naar de "Tongariro crossing". Op dat moment wist ik enkel dat dit een van de mooiste plekken op het noorder eiland zou zijn. Er werd mij dan ook met klem aangeraden dit te ondervinden. Ook had ik zo links en rechts opgepikt dat het een tocht van een kleine 19.6 km zou zijn. Maar zoals altijd ben ik ... read more


Sorry for all the photos - just couldn't pick a few it was so amazing!! How to end a holiday of adventure? How to top everything we had done with an achievement and challenge? Well we found the answer…the Tongariro crossing where you walk over an active volcano…because why not! The weather had kicked up and we had 32km winds to contend with but there was no way we weren’t going to make it. So we donned our day packs and hiking boots and set out for our adventure. It started out tame enough but as we climbed higher my thigh started to cramp up – not ideal when faced with 10km of uphill and stairs but I continued on with many stops (thanks for your patience Em!) As we got higher the wind kicked up ... read more
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On the final day of our epic adventure in Tongariro National Park we got up in time to be shivering in the crisp morning air waiting for the sun to rise over the mountains. We were rewarded for the early start with an amazing light show as the sky changed colour and then the mountains were successively highlighted. We packed and ate as quickly as we could, keen to start our fifteen kilometre hike as early as possible. We had planned to go to some local hot pools to relax after our walk so we had this driving us to finish speedily. A few minutes after we got on the trail we turned off to visit New Zealand's oldest backcountry hut - a tiny fascinating museum of tramper history. This fire-engine red, two-roomed shack, surrounded by ... read more
Mount Ngauruhoe and Lower Tama Lake
Sunrise at Waihohonu Hut
Taranaki Falls


Day three of the Tongariro North Circuit is relatively short at only 8.5 kilometres and, according to the map would be relatively flat. As the weather was forecast to start overcast and turn to rain, we planned to get up early and attempt to make it to the next hut as early as possible. When we woke it was already drizzling so we had a leisurely breakfast instead. We set off walking down the lava field we had traversed the previous evening. Soon this changed into a field of boulders "placed" with explosive force by the volcano. The boulders were generally small, and though haphazardly placed, posed little trouble. The path adopted a gentle downward gradient which was so much easier than the previous day. The boulder field did suddenly get steeper though and dropped down ... read more
Ohinepango Stream
Oturere Valley
Beech Forest


Day two of our epic hike dawned and the pitch black sky with cold hard stars shining out were replaced with perfectly clear blue skies. It was freezing cold on the mountain side and we were glad of our hastily purchased thermal layers. We had breakfast in the warm hut and then went out to strike our camp. We had to queue for the long drops as the hut didn't afford any privacy for changing. We joined the path feeling good and even overtaking day trippers who were just doing the one day Tongariro Crossing - they would be sharing our path for the first few hours. It was funny seeing how some of them were dressed - including split ballerina shoes in one case. They earned the nickname "tourists" amongst us multi-day trampers. The path ... read more
View from Devil's Staircase
Southern Crater
Emerald Lakes


The day dawned wet... not the start we wanted for the big expedition we'd been looking forward to since we arrived in New Zealand. We were about to start the four day Tongariro Northern Circuit Great Walk. All of the pictures and the official brochure showed stunning scenery and we were hoping for the same. Preparing for our expedition seemed to take forever and we wondered how we would ever fit all of the paraphernalia and food we needed to keep us alive in all conditions in our packs. Being able to lift them was going to be another problem. It seemed to take forever but finally everything was stowed and loaded on the car. As we drove to Whakapapa Village, the start and end point for the walk, the weather seemed to get worse. We ... read more
Lava Flowers
The Tongariro Northern Circuit
View from 1st Camp


Sunday December 27 - From Rotorua, we drove through Taupo, a nice vacation town with a lake. We were planning to stay there, but the weather was turning quite nice, so we decided to head straight onto a holiday park near the Tongariro Alpine crossing that we wanted to hike the next day. The weather has to be good to make it worthwhile. We stopped over at the Haku falls and the Ariatiatia rapids in the Taupo area on our way to the national park. Monday December 28 – Today we got up at 6am to hike the Tongariro Alpine crossing. We had some breakfast and then took a shuttle bus to the start of the trail. The hike went like this – easy, hard, easy, harder, lunch, down, down, down. It took about 7.5 hours ... read more
Aratiatia rapids
Aratiatia rapids
Aratiatia rapids


Ahhh....the sun woke us up and as we laid there in bed remembering our day before, we were happy! That is until we moved. Ohhhh....merrrr....gudddd....Ouch! But, I am happy to report, while the getting out of bed was painful, once we got moving things loosened up a bit. We reassured our bodies that the most physically challenging parts of our vacation were behind us. All's good. Pip was packed up once again because this was day we were heading to Wellington. But first, let us not forget High Tea at the majestic Chateau Tongariro right smack in the middle of the Tongariro National Park! Jeff reluctantly dressed up and came along. (Remember the eye rolling several days ago? Grumbling under the breath was added for nuance today.) This magnificent chateau is definitely an aging grandeur of ... read more
Mt. Tongariro
Tea Time!
Jeff and High Tea


WE DID IT! Today was the day...conquer the crossing...the Tongariro Alpine Crossing that is! This crossing is considered the best day hike in New Zealand. And it's not for the faint of heart! It's 19.4 km long along with reaching almost 1900 meters of altitude! (That translates to 12.055 miles and over 6200 feet!) We started our day earlier to meet our ride to the mountain by 7:30am. We stopped in at the local cafe and ordered a wonderful breakfast of french toast, pancakes, bacon and grilled bananas. Heck, we felt that a breakfast like that was in order to get us through the day. The shuttle bus collected us at the i-site and we were off to the mountain. The shuttle bus dropped us off at the starting point and would pick us up at ... read more
And we're off!
Mt. Ngauruhoe
Kristine All Geared Up!


Par Béné: Samedi 24 : A peine arrivés à Turangi, on fait comme à notre habitude : direction le I-site ! La météo annoncée pour le lendemain parait bonne, on n’hésite pas une seconde, on fera donc le Tongariro Alpine Crossing demain ! Dimanche 25 : Debout à 5h45, on part prendre la navette qui doit nous amener au point de départ du chemin. C’est parti pour un peu plus de 19 kms et 800m de dénivelé positif ! On espère que le temps se maintiendra au beau toute la journée … Autant dire que nous avons eu une chance incroyable ! Les quelques nuages et brouillards matinaux se sont très vite dissipés pour nous laisser une vue splendide à plus de 200 kms à la ronde !!! Après une première montée assez ardue, on arrive ... read more
mont Ngauruhoe = la montagne du destin




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