Hiking in Tongariro National Park
It was up the very top of the Tongariro Crossing that I truly felt I’d been transported to some sort of post-apocalyptic world. I was drenched from head to toe from the moisture in the dense cloud. The wild wind was whipping at my face, hair and my saturated tech gear. Clouds were drifting across the volcanic landscape of gnarly boulders and scree. The visibility was pretty darn average and the smell of sulphur was thick in the air. Knowing that I was standing atop of a volcano, well that was the icing on the cake. Afraid? Well, maybe a little. Feeing alive? Heck yes!
The Tongariro National Park is home to three active volcanoes Mt Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro. It’s New Zealands oldest National Park and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To say the scenery is breathtaking would be the understatement of the century. The landscape of this alpine environment is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It’s rugged, and not in an unshaven fella with some stubble kind of way, this landscape is genuinely rugged, craggy and rough. Carpets of wildflowers, thick succulentie foliage and tussock dot the shaley landscape. There are magnificent lakes and crater lakes, rivers and water falls, steam vents and bubbling muddy pools. It’s spectacular!
Hiking across this landscape was an amazing experience and one that I’m sure will stay with Ivan and myself for the rest of our lives. Two of the bigger walks we did whilst up in the Tongariro NP were the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (19.4km) and Tama Lakes (17km), if you have the opportunity I highly recommend you check them out. For more information on walking trails the Department of Conservation website.
Little tidbit: I unleashed my inner nerdy self for the duration of our stay in the Alpine of Tongariro, pretending that I was Samwise Gamgee and that Ivan was Frodo (I didn’t tell Ivan though… as I’m certain he would have preferred to be Boromir). LOTR fans will know that Mt Ngauruhoe was Mt Doom in The Lord of the Rings.