New Zealand- Tongariro Alpine Crossing Hike
The next morning, while my husband was out for a run, I decided I did want to hike Tongariro Alpine Crossing. My thought is that we might never get to do this again so why not seize the moment. Unfortunately, His run went long and he only returned 15 mins before the next transportation bus left so when he showered I madly packed up our bags and bought the tickets for the Roam bus. He loaded our bags in the car and jumped on the bus but we forgot one important item- the sunscreen! This was a major item to forget as the sun is intense in New Zealand. We both wore our hats and hoodies but we still got sunburned.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing Track
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is 19.4km and a half a mile accent up. The bus drops you off at Mangatepopo. There is limited short term parking here which is why you need to take the bus.
Mangatepopo to Soda Springs is fairly flat and easy hike. It should take you 1 to 1.5 hours to complete. Wet sections in this area are boardwalk to avoid the damp ground. The boardwalk is narrow and will slow you down when lots of people are present.
Soda Springs to South Crater is know as Devil’s Staircase. It is steep and moderately difficult. It should take you 40mins to 1 hour to complete depending on how many breaks you take. When you get to the top, they like to joke that there are no more stairs which is true but doesn’t mean there are no more inclines just no stairs. Ha ha joke is on you.
South Crater to Red Crater starts with a very flat easy section then there is a short climb on an exposed ridge. The first part is easy but the short accent is difficult. We noticed a storm was fast approaching when we were climbing this section. This section should take you 1 hour. Once you reached Red Crater this is the top of the track.
Made it to the Top!
Red Crater to Blue Lake this is the most beautiful part of the hike because once you pass red crater is two emerald lakes. They are so beautiful. The descent down from Red Crater is difficult as the extremely loose rock that causes you slide down the mountain. It was a little terrifying as there were so many people coming down. Emerald lakes is where we stopped for lunch and took many pictures. There is a sulfurous smell in this area. Blue lake is a cold acidic lake and it is seen as disrespectful to touch the water. This section should take about 30mins.
Blue Lake to Ketetahi Shelter is a moderate 1 hr hike down. The track zig zag the way down to Ketchahi Shelter. Once you reach Ketetahi Shelter there are bathrooms and there is a nice shelter to take a break. Since we were still trying to stay in front of the storm we kept hiking.
Ketetahi Shelter to Ketetahi CarPark is the section that never ends. This section of the track goes on forever. You think you are close once you make it down but due to the high bushes you have no idea how much further. It is a moderate hike that will take 2hrs. This is where the storm finally caught up to us and started to sprinkle. Near the bottom is a washout area which there are lots of caution signs to not go in this area if it is raining. Luckily it was just sprinkling so we crossed and continued the hike.
Finally we made it down the the Ketetahi CarPark. There is a hut where all the exhausted hikers are laying down sleeping. Our bus picked us up at scheduled times and took us back to the Grand Chateau Tongariro. There are several bus companies so make sure you get on the correct bus.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing was an epic hike but not overly strenuous to complete. It has amazing scenery which everyone should check out. I am very happy we did the hike and did not pass on this adventurous day to see the New Zealand landscape. It took us 6.5 hours to complete the track.
Once we made it back to the Grand Chateau we then got in our car and drove to Taupo in search of aloe vera. We had dinner by the lake and checked out the McDonald’s. Which is the only McD’s in the world with a airplane you can eat in. Then we checked into our hostel. Yup you read the right, we stayed in our first hostel. We had a private room and it only cost $50 a night. It was called Haka Lodge Taupo. It was supposedly very nice for a hostel but the lack of air conditioning in the room was a major issue as we had to leave the windows open and it was loud with people and traffic and the street lights. In the am we were ready to leave. Next up our adventure day in Rotarua.
This is part of a larger trip report, Please read more at the following links.
Cruise New Zealand- Wellington- coming soon!