New Zealand

Tongariro Alpine Crossing Tour

The most beautiful one-day march

Petr Liška
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Tongariro Alpine Crossing Tour
Inserted: 13.10.2015
© gigaplaces.com
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Tongariro Alpine Crossing is probably the most famous day trip on the North Island. Here you walk through a volcanic landscape used as the land of Mordor in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The clear dominant feature of this hike is the Ngauruhoe volcano (2,287 m above sea level) in the film named as Mount Doom, which you can also climb as (the best recommended side trip on this hike). Along the way, you will also see beautiful Emerald Lakes and other volcanic formations, including the surreal Red Crater.

Under Mount Doom

This beautiful hike starts in the Mangatepopo car park (1,125 m above sea level), where a six-kilometer road branching off from the main road number 47 leads through the desolate landscape. The hike is long and if you want to catch side walks, start the march at dawn.

Under Mount Doom
Author: © gigaplaces.com

Ascent through the Mangatepopo valley

From the parking lot, a long and slightly monotonous climb through the desolate landscape along a nice sidewalk awaits you. After less than an hour, you will be approaching the saddle under the volcano. The car park will be lost deep below you.

Ascent through the Mangatepopo valley
Author: © gigaplaces.com

In the saddle below Mount Ngauruhoe

In an hour's walk you are already in the saddle (1,650 m above sea level), or at the beginning of the volcanic plain under this beautiful volcano. Only a minority of tourists climb this mountain as an interesting side trip, which is a shame, because from the top there is a beautiful view of two other interesting lakes Tama and the highest volcano far and wide Ruapehu (2,797 m above sea level). The ascent path is pretty clear from here. From this point begins the most beautiful part of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing march.

In the saddle below Mount Ngauruhoe
Author: © gigaplaces.com

Ascent ridge

From the indistinct wide saddle below the Ngaurohue volcano, a more than a kilometer-long journey across the desolate plain, still at an altitude of about 1,650 meters above sea level, awaits you. Finally, the plains await you ascent (more than 200 meters high) along the ridge to the top of the Red Crater. The views back to the volcano are beautiful.

Ascent ridge
Author: © gigaplaces.com

Red crater

Right next to the interesting Red Crater is a crossroads of hiking trails (approx. 1,850 m above sea level. From here you can alternatively set off to the top of the indistinct Tongariro volcano.

Red crater
Author: © gigaplaces.com

Above the Red Crater

If you do not take either of the two side ascents to the volcanoes, then the view directly to the Red Crater is the highest point (1,880 m above sea level) of this entire hike.

Above the Red Crater
Author: © gigaplaces.com

View of Emerald lakes

From the Red Crater you will descend to another volcanic plain. Along the way, however, there is perhaps the most beautiful view ever – the Emerald lakes.

View of Emerald lakes
Author: © gigaplaces.com

Emerald lake

The lakes are really beautiful. If you want the weather, do not rush in this passage and go around all the lakes.

Emerald lake
Author: © gigaplaces.com

View back from the lakes

The view from the lakes to the path you came from, winding over the steep slopes of the crater, is also interesting.

View back from the lakes
Author: © gigaplaces.com

Views from the volcanic plain

From the lakes you will descend a little more to another vast volcanic plain. The further you go on the plain, the more panoramic the view of the volcanoes. It is beautiful to see from here that the Red Crater is just a small remnant of a once huge volcano.

Views from the volcanic plain
Author: Ivan Puškáš © gigaplaces.com

View of the volcanic plain

At the end of the volcanic plain, aka the central crater, the last short ascent to the next edge of the crater at Blue Lake awaits you. The path along it leads relatively along the contour line. Even the view from here is quite interesting, especially the relatively „fresh“ black lava flow.

View of the volcanic plain
Author: Ivan Puškáš © gigaplaces.com

Views of Lake Rotoaira and Taupo

Finally you arrive at the pass from where you can see really far to the huge Lake Taupo and a little smaller but closer Rotoaira

Views of Lake Rotoaira and Taupo
Author: Ivan Puškáš © gigaplaces.com

Road to Ketetahi

The journey down seems endless after a day's hike and not so interesting anymore. You also have to descend a kilometer high. Along the way, you will meet fumaroles and finally walk through the misty forest to the parking lot. It is still about nine kilometers from the pass.

Road to Ketetahi
Author: Ivan Puškáš © gigaplaces.com
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Tony Výborný
21.01.2018 18:50
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Krásná celodenní tůra. Dal bych i 4.5, ale přístup místních ubírá na zážitku. Donedávna byla možnost pro skupinky se dvěmi auty nechat jedno na parkovišti "A" a druhým se svézt na parkoviště "B". To již není možné a jediný způsob jak tůru absolvovat je nechat se svézt hodně předraženými autobusy.