Whether you want to tick hiking a volcano off your bucket list or are a LOTR fan you'll want to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
Where is Tongariro National Park?
Located 103km from Taupō, and a one and half hours drive away.
What is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing?
Widely regarded as one of the world's best one-day hikes, scaling Mount Tongariro at 1967 metres whilst tramping through Tongariro National Park, the course will take you between 5 and half hours to 8 hours to complete the 19.4 km trail. In the winter the ground will be covered in thick, deep beautiful white pristine snow though visibility can often be bad, but the climb is worth it to see the national park and Mt Ngauruhoe at 2287 metres in all its beautiful glory, (in the summer the lava rocks and flora and fauna follow your path and you will be treated to magnificent views for miles, including the Blue Pools located within the park).
Lord Of The Rings
The national park was used as the most sinister of the Lord of the Rings locations, Mordor. And Mt Ngauruhoe is most famously known as Mt Doom.
Is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing for you?
Are you relatively fit? No medical conditions? Good at keeping pace? Then yes the crossing should be fine. As said, the trek is over 19 km long, you need to be physically fit enough, your legs will hurt! Be warned on the winter guided tours you will need to keep pace, the guides don't have time to keep waiting on slow coaches at the back. (On our tour parents with 2 small kids had to turn back 1/3 way through as it was exhausting).
Organised tour Vs doing on your own
We were going to be going the climb in winter, we thought we could go on our own, we were highly advised not to. The weather can change rapidly in winter and unless you understand avalanches, change in weather and know the route perfectly it is advised to go on a tour.
We chose Adrifts Tongariro Alpine Crossing, booking at Peterpans' for $175 each. http://www.adriftnz.co.nz
This included transport to and from Taupō, being fully kitted out with snow boots, snow gaiters, crampons, ice axe, and helmet. If you need extras such as waterproofs they will provide for you.
What to wear?
Winter- Wear comfy clothing and layer up.
Pam wore- vest top, thermal top, fleece, windproof jacket, waterproof jacket, tights, leggings, waterproof trousers. thick socks, gloves, hat, light scarf, sunglasses. Your body temperature will go up during the tough hike, and I did lose a few layers as I went.
Shannon- t-shirt, thermal top, windproof/water resistant jacket, waterproof trousers.
Most of our clothing was from Katmandu and Rip Curl
What to bring with you?
suncream, yes even in winter, backpack- for clothes and also your lunch, snacks and plenty of water. There are no shops! And don't what ever you do- forget your camera!