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


North Island, reputedly less scenic than South Island, is hilly rather than mountainous, but just as wooded. It’s hard to know how much of the forest is indigenous, as a lot of trees have been introduced by settlers, but Trevor is a mine of information on a lot of them. The problem with introduced species of anything is that it will often smother what was there before. The conservation societies are trying to get rid of ‘wildings’ - so that areas can be returned to their original makeup. New Zealand's original wildlife consisted of mainly birds, most of them flightless; its only mammals were a couple of bats. The Maoris hunted the several species of moa (a large flightless bird) to extinction, hard to envisage when you see the size of some of these were over ... read more

Next stop was Taupo, which is a cute little town next to the enormous lake Taupo. It also happens to be near the Tongariro National Park, so when the next day promised some good weather, there was no way I wouldn't do that! I woke up at 4:15 (!), met some people at my hostel that were also doing the crossing and at 7:00 we started walking (after a 1,5 hour bus ride). It was amazing. The walk started off relatively flat, in a landscape that was nothing like I had ever seen. The clouds added to the atmosphere, making it seem mystical and magical. After a while we climbed above the clouds, and what a view… and then I haven't even mentioned the green and bright blue lakes yet. It was a tough climb and ... read more
Taupo sign just begged to be climbed
19,4 km, let's go!
Climbed above the clouds!

New Zealand wasn’t on my radar as a place I would visit in the near future because I had already been there as a teenager, and, because I didn’t know anyone I could stay with there, an extended sojourn there wouldn’t fit my budget as a funemployed person. However, when I extended my Midlife Crisis Flashpacking Trip, the only mileage award flight home I could find was from Auckland. So, I decided to make a short trip to NZ to check one more item off my list - the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. It also helped that Air New Zealand offered attractive fares on their B787 Dreamliner flight from Adelaide to Auckland. It was also a neat bit of serendipity that I end my travels in the country where my wanderlust was first stoked; I’ll explain that ... read more
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Wir übernachten am Campingplatz und lassen uns vom Transferbus um 06:40 abholen, der uns nach getaner Leistung wieder gut zurück bringen wird. Aber jetzt mal schön langsam… Als wir aufwachen kommt mir das Wetter noch etwas entrisch vor, doch das liegt einfach nur an der Dämmerstimmung aufgrund der Uhrzeit 😉 Leider wollte sich die Katze nicht mehr zeigen, weshalb Stefan den Schinken geschickt drapiert und diesen Dienst einfach fürs gute Karma tätigt. Wir schaffen es pünktlich zum Transferbus, der zu spät ist und dann scheint die Sonne!! Und Mount Doom (der Schicksalsberg) zeigt sich in seiner voller Pracht – wir sind gut ausgerüstet: Gore-Tex-Jacken , Fleece , Handschuhe und Haube , Wanderstöcke sehr nützlich auf dem Lavasand – einzig gefährlicher Teil der Wanderung und zu unser Überraschung ohne Sicherung, da der Rest des ... read more
Tongariro Crossing - Skigebiet
Tongariro Crossing -  lasr chance
Mount Doom

In Maori mythology, there once stood four great mountains in the area now protected within Tongariro National Park – Tongariro, Taranaki, Tauhara and Putauaki – all of whom were male. When a beautiful female mountain named Pihanga arrived nearby, all four of them fell in love with her. But since only one of them could have her – and with boys being boys after all – they fought over her. When the great battle of the mountains was over, it was the volcano Tongariro who stood victorious, having blown himself apart in order to prove his love to Pihanga. The other three mountains were given until sunrise the following morning to get as far away as they could, before they would be turned to stone forever. Taranaki fled westwards at a great rate, and by the ... read more
Between the Volcanoes
Mount Doom
Martian Landscape

Tongario Alpine Crossing (TAC) = Version accélérée et raccourcie d'un des 10 plus beaux treks du monde ! 3 semaines, que j'attends une fenêtre météo favorable pour y aller. Echec lors de mon séjour à Taupo, idem lors de mon stand by pré-emploi... Avant hier LE jour arrivait sur la forecast ! J'ai bloqué ma journée (de toute façon j'avais pas de rdv) appelé Aldric (un pote et colloc de Susan) et on est parti après mon boulot, mardi à 21h. Arrivés à 1h à Tongario National Park, on dort dans le van, puis levé 6h30 pour les dernières 30 minutes de voiture. Départ 7h50, il y a déjà un monde fou, et une queue aux toilettes... la journée sera longue ! Le programme (sur les conseils du Gaminou et de plusieurs blogs) aller très vite ... read more
Première vue du Mordor
Mystic en Noir et Blanc
Le vent se lève fin de la première difficulté de la journée, descente sur le lac

Visited Tongariro National Park today, home of Mt Ruapehu. At 2797 M it is the highest peak in the area. I was aiming to complete some volcanic walks on the mountain. The Skyline Ridge was the first. To get to the start point requires 2 chairlift rides and you start at 2,020 M. I quickly re-learned I am not fond of heights as my hands grasped the bar tightly. Although the actual trail only went to 2,300 M it was a gruesome hike. At times the trail was hard to determine and there were parts where you were scrambling over volcanic rock and walking through volcanic ash. I must admit it was not a fun hike and it took me well over an hour to get to a good vantage point, with plenty of breaks of ... read more
Mt Tongariro from afar
En route on the Skyline Trail
Getting higher

R: It started off by me waking Cate up at 7:50. Never a good start. We were staying in Taupo, a town on the side of Lake Taupo, which is about 70km from the start of the walk. We headed off in the drizzle to the starting point, through a very nice road up to Tongariro national park. The weather was looking grey and wet but I was ever hopeful it might clear. By the time we got to the trailhead, it was bright and sunny! Cate dropped me at the trailhead at about 9:45 and I started the walk about 10am. Its a 19.4km hike over a saddle that sits between Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe, which was used as the filming location of Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The terrain ... read more
Mount Ngauruhoe
Sudden visibility failure
Emerald lakes...

I'm sitting on the bench outside my youth hostel in the dark at 5.45am! This ridiculous state of affairs actually has a reasonable explanation. Today I'm trekking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing come rain or shine and I'm waiting for a shuttle bus to take me to the start. After about an hour's drive being inflicted with 'Shite pop music punctuated with inane small-talk babble Morning Show, Taupo 97.6FM' we are dropped off at the start of the trail. But first I have a geocache to pick up. With the massed hoards waiting to set off I'm surprised no-one else is searching. And so I set off along the trail trying to work myself into a gap between groups of people and their incessant chattering. Can you pick up a theme here? I absolutely detest small-talk, especially ... read more

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

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