Wednesday, April 18, 2012
The Tongariro Crossing
A fantastic run over New Zealand’s most popular one day hike. It is easy to see why when you are presented with clear blue skies and views that stretch as far away as Mt Taranaki.
We started the run at the Mangatepopo carpark, the first 30 minutes of running where across a mixture of coarse volcanic rock and well kept boardwalks. After Sulphur Springs the track climbed steadily on the lower slopes of Mt Ngauruhoe before emerging in the South Crater and a scene that resembled something from Mars. From here Mt Ngauruhoe towers high above; sadly we didn’t have time to attempt the summit.
After crossing the crater it is a short sharp climb to the highest point of the track and to some sublime views. The emerald and blue lakes shimmer below, Mt Ngauruhoe dominates to the South, Lake Taupo is in the distance to the north, the Kaimanawa Ranges to the East and we were able to make out Mt Taranaki to the west. A scree slope drops away past the Emerald Lakes and into the Central Crater before rising to the aptly named Blue Lake.
From here the climbing is over and the descent begins. After winding around the side of Mt Tongariro the track Zigzags to the Ketetahi Hut and then gently winds down into the tree line with the final few kilometres alongside a stream and through some very tranquil bush.