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Dec 22
2014

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Hearing so much about the Tongariro, we tried to pick the best weather for this trek. Leaving Rotorua and coming back there later paid off, the weather was perfect. We parked our car at the end of the trek and took a shuttle to the start. That was excellent, we could drive back as soon as we finished the trek. The first section of the trek was super easy, about 4.5 km with very little ascend brings you to the Soda Spring. Another 5 minutes walk off the main trail takes you to the waterfall. On the right you can see mount Ngauruhoe which is mount Doom from the Lord Of The Rings movie. Some people climb that mountain, though it seems very steep and there is no path, you just climb to the top. Anyway, a 3 hours side trek with such a steep climb was not something we wanted to do in the shape we were in so we chose to do the Tongariro summit side trek instead. After a decent climb, I wouldn't say very hard, but not that easy you get to the South Crater. Another short and flat section leads you to another climb to the Red Crater. If you don't take the side trek to the Tongariro's summit this is the highest point of the trek. We decided to go up. The view from the summit was breath taking. Not only we saw mount Doom clearly, but also the snowy mountain behind it.

Mount Doom - Ngauruhoe Mount Doom - Ngauruhoe

Mount Doom - Ngauruhoe Mount Doom - Ngauruhoe

Mount Doom - Ngauruhoe Mount Doom - Ngauruhoe

Mount Doom - Ngauruhoe Mount Doom - Ngauruhoe

We returned to the Red Crater and had some lunch. At that point I was absolutely happy. For years I fantasized having the same feeling as I had in treks at South America. Seating on a pass, bit cold, but the sun warms you up, eating lunch while looking on this amazing view. I almost couldn't believe it was exactly as I imaged it for so long. I can't describe the feeling in words. We continued to the Emerald Lakes. Well I don't have to describe it, enjoy the view.

The Emerald Lakes The Emerald Lakes

The Emerald Lakes The Emerald Lakes

The Emerald Lakes The Emerald Lakes

The Emerald Lakes The Emerald Lakes

The Emerald Lakes The Emerald Lakes

There is another small ascend from the Central Crater to the Blue Lake, which is beautiful and then just getting down the mountain. The last few km were a little bit boring. Without the side trek it is a 19.4 km trek. The Tongariro's summit adds about 3 km, so it was a long day trek, 22.4 km in 8 and a half hours.

Up until now I can definitely understand why it is considered to be the best day trek in New Zealand.

The Blue Lake The Blue Lake

The Blue Lake The Blue Lake

The Blue Lake The Blue Lake