Favorite thing: Driving along the waterfront of Lake Taupo, we get a magnificent view of where we are headed. Here you can see (with some small patches of snow) on the left, Mt Ruapehu. In the very centre, the conical shape volcano is Mt Ngauruhoe, and to the right of that, next door is the flat topped summit of Mt Tongariro where we went.
Even on a really clear sunny day as we had, on the Tongariro Crossing, you cannot escape the bitterly cold and strong wind at the top of the Pass. I was standing on the rim of the South Crater.
If you are from Virtual Tourist, or not, this in my humble opinion is one of the best photos you can get of yourself, in all of New Zealand. We are standing on Mt Tongariro, one of the crater rims, and behind is the lovely classic vocano cone shape of Mt Ngauruhoe.
Fondest memory: Having my photo taken knowing I had climbed there myself, with my VT flag. The wind was so strong I had to hold it with my teeth!!
Mt Ngauruhoe epitomises ones idea of how a volcano should look!
Lunch on Mt Tongariro is certainly a Must Do activity!! However you have a bit of effort to get here, as you will realise. A quite long walk. But when you get to Emerald Lakes its a really nice spot to stop and have lunch. However just be aware you still have a long walk ahead of you and take note of the time of day and the weather. Don't stay here too long if you are getting later in the day.
Fondest memory: It's a nice rest beside one of the Emerald Lakes. The water is cold, not hot.
Apart from not wanting people to stray from the boardwalk to protect the fauna, nor do we want people toileting any old where on the mountain. There are not many, but 2 or 3 toilets can be found on the mountain. Bio degradable toilets, so please respect this and don't throw trash down them. Remove your trash in your pack.
Fondest memory: Now this loo is one of worthy mention. I mean it's well built, has sturdy wires to keep it firmly rooted to the ground, in case of high winds. Great ventilation chimney and fan, and such a lovey inviting verandah, out front.
Just in behind can be seen the peak of Mt Ngauruhoe.
You must cross the South Crater to continue on your way up to the next level of the walk. But it's quite an eerie feeling once you realise you are literally standing on the plug of a volcano.
Fondest memory: This really was like being on the surface of the moon. The clear dark skies, oh but we could hardly feel like we were on the moon when we were looking at the moon up there, haha.
And the barren and rocky surrounding with the red hues, and cold air. All seemed very , well very "lunar"!!
These beautiful green stunning small lakes, known as the Emerald Lakes, fill old explosion craters.
The colours in the photo are exactly as we saw them and I was really pleased how the colours reproduced.
Pay particular attention to the Red Crater. You view it from the high and steep scree climb after the South Crater.
The colours are amazing, showing obvious reasons for it's name. This crater is in fact still active and can be seen steaming on occasions.
Fondest memory: The colours and textures in the Red Crater were so stunning, and to think they were naturally created is just amazing.
Favorite thing: From our viewpoint at the top of the climb at the top of the Mangatepopo Valley on the edge of the South Crater, you can look towards the West directly at Mt Taranaki. You can see it in the photo, if you look carefully.
Being up above the clouds at sunrise was a really special moment for me. Especially as I was able to walk up here, and not have to endure technical climbing skills.
Fondest memory: Those fluffy white clouds with the suns rays warming them just a little. It's not often in my life anyway, that I get to be above the clouds at sunrise. I really was in awe of this moment. I guess also this is one of the reasons I took longer than most to do the walk, I sat and just stared at what was before me. Oh and I got one or two photos as well!! I'm sure some people were so intent of breaking records they didn't even look back and see this sight!
Early morning up the Mangatepopo Valley, out first part of the trek was dark but still awesome. Always remember to keep to the path, especially here. Recently they have constructed this boardwalk to protect the fragile existence of the alpine plants. Well it's much easier and faster walking on the boardwalk anyway.
Fondest memory: Just knowing I was out walking and getting onto a mountain without having to do technical climbing was a real sense of achievement for me. Apart from lack of fitness, I don't go too well on hanging from ledges and that kind of stuff. So this is a great opportunity to get up at altitude by just walking. Trekking or tramping, whatever you may like to call it.
This great little viewing spot gave us a better chance to see where we would be trekking the next day. In the photo you see Mt Tongariro on the left and the conical shape of Mt Ngauruhoe. Mt Ruapehu is right of the photo, but not in the photo.
To find this view, take Hwy 47 towards National Park from Turangi and about 10kms from the intersection with Hwy 46, you find two signs on the right side, reading "Taurewa Dropshaft and Okupata Dropshaft". These are in relation to the hydro electricity scheme, but there is a layby there where you can park and see this view.
Fondest memory: Remembering this is the volcanic plateau and is elevated somewhat in altitude, the plantlife is indicative of this. The colours of the tussock and heathers and other plants just is so beautiful I wanted to stay here forever. But of course on a nice day it's nice, but often the weather is so crud here. We were very fortunate.
To get this view of Mount Tongariro, we deviated slightly down a tiny road off the highway. Let me share with you that spot! Head South from Taupo, and at Turangi, follow the signs to National park, which take you onto Hwy 47. After you have driven over the saddle and see Lake Rotoaira in front of you, and you descend down, you come to a small road on the left with signs saying "Opataka Historic Place - Site of two Maori dwellings". Take this small road and you drive on past the Maori dwellings until you come to the Hydro gates. Drive out on the left towards the lake and stop at the end of that track. You get the view in this photo from that point. It's not seen from the highway, unimpeded.
Fondest memory: This is my favourite view of Tongariro, summit 1967m.
From here the other mountains are obscured, but this is a great view.