National Park Travel Guide

  • Active volcano
    Active volcano
    by kiwi
  • Mt Tongariro
    Mt Tongariro
    by kiwi
  • Winter snow coverage, Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngauruhoe
    Winter snow coverage, Mt Ruapehu and Mt...
    by kiwi

National Park Local Customs

  • kiwi's Profile Photo

    by kiwi Updated Mar 7, 2005

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    Well you find you just can't help yourself, every direction you look, you want to take photos. Don't let the uneducated or boring people convince you to stop taking photos. Take more!!! Especially if you have good weather or even interesting clouds. Inclement weather or clear skies, both give dramatic and aweinspiring photographs.

    Photographers dream.
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Photography
    • Hiking and Walking

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National Park Warnings and Dangers

  • Take jewellery off before you set out.

    Apart from not wanting to lose precious jewellery, it's a good idea to take it off before you set out on this adventure to walk the Tongariro Crossing.For me and a few others I spoke to up there, we discovered that our fingers became quite swollen at different stages. Perhaps it was the body dealing or not dealing with pressure changes, but it...

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  • Weather can change in a matter of...

    Please realise that as with most mountains, here in the Tongariro National Park, and especially on the Tongariro Crossing, the weather is fully capable of changing from one extreme to the other, in a matter of minutes.Here in this photo you can see the lovely blue sky on the left and the approaching cloud on the right. We didn't even see this...

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  • Dig your heels in on the scree slopes.

    When you find yourself on a scree slope as you do once or twice on the Tongariro Crossing, one way to keep better stability is to remember to walk normally but make sure you put your heels down first and slightly dig them in. Gravity will provide speed and you find you move quite quickly but maintain the rhythm of heels in first. You eventually...

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National Park Tourist Traps

  • kiwi's Profile Photo

    by kiwi Updated Mar 7, 2005

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    Normally you would expect to be walking alone or at least with few other people in the mountains. However this is such a well known and publicised walk, that the day we were there, there had to be 1000 people on the trek. So although it's possible to be almost alone up there, don't consider it a certainty.

    Unique Suggestions: To avoid the crowds I recommend you go midweek and in horrid weather, hahahaha.
    Well we went on a Saturday in glorious bluesky perfect weather and it was way too busy to be a Walk in the Mountains!

    Fun Alternatives: I wonder if they are considering restricting numbers up here as we were surveyed on completion of the track and that seemed to be their line of questioning. I could suggest you try one of the other walks in the park, however this one is very popular for the very reason that it is simply stunning!!

    Endless stream of people.
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Photography

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National Park What to Pack

  • kiwi's Profile Photo

    by kiwi Updated Mar 15, 2005

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    Luggage and bags: Good rucksack that sits comfortably on your back. A shoulder slung bag will soon annoy you very much. A front bag is best for your camera, so it is easily accessible.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Something warm, something very Waterproof and Windproof, Sturdy and comfortable walking shoes or boots with good socks, woollen hat and sunshield, gloves.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: First aid items, basic is enough.

    Photo Equipment: You will hate yourself if you don't take a camera! Take waterproof protection for your camera in case the weather turns bad.
    Spare batteries, remember cold conditions effect the performance of rechargeable batteries.

    Miscellaneous: WATER. There is no drinking water on the mountain due to excessively high mineral content. Huts have rainwater.
    Tube of Vegemite to give you a fix of Vitamin B12 if needed.
    Sunscreen, remember NZ has low ozone protection and the sun is strong.
    Map and compass, it's necessary for you to know where you are going, especially if the weather turns bad.
    Cell Phone, well it's always handy if you need help and we had coverage most of the time.

    Vegemite for sustainance. Drinking Water
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Hiking and Walking

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National Park Off The Beaten Path

  • Climb a mountain yourself!

    You will need to give yourself probably a two night stopover in this region to do this walk. To get an early start, you need to spend the night nearby and it's a big and long day, so you probably need to stay the second night as well, to help rest and savour your achievement of the trek.

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  • Side trip up another mountain.

    If you are of a very high fitness level, and you have begun the day early enough, you can divert to the summit of Mt Ngauruhoe (2287m)once at the South Crater. This is estimated to be a 3 hr return trip to this point. However, not only is this path steep and requiring high level fitness, but it is a scree slope. This entails high level of energy...

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  • And another peak to climb.

    With plenty of time and energy you can make a side trip to the summit of Mt Tongariro. This mountain is a cluster of many volcano craters, and you are essentially walking on it the whole time. But you can visit the summit (1967m) from the main path. From the rim of the South Crater before you descend to the Emerald Lakes, there is a marked poled...

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National Park Favorites

  • We are headed to those mountains.

    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.

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  • Extremely Cold Wind You Need Protection.

    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...

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  • Lunch in a crater.

    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...

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Comments (1)

  • kiwi's Profile Photo
    Nov 21, 2012 at 4:21 AM

    Mt Tongariro has erupted and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing popular trek has been closed until further notice. Restrictions are in place as to how close you can get to the mountain, for safety reasons.

    • kiwi's Profile Photo
      Nov 29, 2012 at 12:14 PM

      Part of the Alpine Crossing track has now reopened.

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