Tongariro National ParkNovember 9, 2017 in New Zealand
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
Or: starting at 1100 meter above sea level, walking, climbing some 700 meters, descending a bit, walking, climbing again, and descending again to a 780 meters above sea level. In total the length of this hike equals 19.4km and the trek is (by many) noted as one of the top ten treks in the world. And for a good reason.
It's a physical challenge as well as it is a pleasure to the eye of the beholder of all nature has to offer on this trek.
We were brought to our starting point by John Visser. A 2nd generation NewZealander with Dutch ancestry. He told us a lot about Tongariro, and what to expect from the trek. The drive took us about 20 minutes and John told us we were lucky enough to have one of the best weather conditions we could wish for. This happens only some times in a year... Mostly the conditions are less..... or far worse ;-)
John told us, that in case of a volcanic eruption, we had to take as many photos as possible and give them to him, for his website.... He added: "not gonna happen"... when he saw some faces turning into horror.
So, the conditions being good, meaning also the temperature was slightly above freezing point on our starting point. It did freeze in the night, so we were up for some nice clean air, but some icy paths in the first kms maybe as well.
The first kms brought us over slightly ascending flat lands, warming up our leg muscles.
After some 3 kms we came to the Devils staircase... the name tells all we need to know...
From this point on the walk was quite strenuous, to say the least. But the surroundings were magnificent.
After we crossed the top, central crater and the Red Crater, we had to start our descent. We descended on loose gravel first which looked more like skiing than walking. With my camera in the hand it was hard to keep balance and don't fall. We had a break and a little lunch when we we ware at the Blue Lake.
The next part actually was the worst. Since you already had seen the highlights it was the last stage onwards to the end, but only descending. Heavy on the legs, being somewhat tired (Rineke very tired), making this an exhausting part of the trek. But we made it :-) Both happy, relieved and proud we made it, we entered the parking place, where we would be picked up some 20 minutes later.
Just before we started the last segment of our descent I had phone contact with Mountain Air and was able to arrange for the very last flight of the day at 1700 hours. Lucky us.
Will post those photos in a separate post ;-)Read more