Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 001 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 003 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 007 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 013 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 014 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 015 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 019 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 020 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 021 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 022 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 024 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 026 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 037 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 041 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 042 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 045 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 054 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 057 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 059 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 062 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 072 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 074 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 075 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 076 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 081 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 086 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 090 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 092 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 095 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 096 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 099 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 104 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 107 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 108 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 110 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 113 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 128 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 130 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 136 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 137 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 138 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 139 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 144 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 145 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 150 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 151 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 153 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 156 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 158 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 164 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 169 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 171 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 172 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 174 Tongariro Crossing 2013-02-07 186I planned to write this post back in February, but time slipped away from me.

In February Donald and I walked the first half of the Tongario Alpine Crossing – we could only go half way because volcanic eruptions  had resulted in DOC closing the track at the half-way mark.

We stayed for two nights in National Park, at The Park Traveller’s Lodge – a comfortable and congenial hotel.  We arrived late Thursday afternoon, had a decent meal and went to bed early as we had to be ready for the bus to take us to the start of the crossing at 07h00.

Early the Friday morning we ate a hearty breakfast, collected our lunch packs (plenty of food and a bottle of water) and  joined another six people who were staying at the Lodge for the bus trip to the start of the crossing.

The first part of the walk from the car park to Soda Springs lulls you into a false sense of security – it’s easy going walking next to a stream, with magnificent views.  At Soda Springs there’s a rest point before climbing the Devil’s Staircase – well named as it’s a hard climb.

At the top of the Devil’s Staircase we came to the South Crater – directly below Mt Ngauruhoe – there’s an optional climb up the side of Ngauruhoe but that was way too steep for me!

We stopped for lunch on the ridge looking down on the South Crater, awesome views in all directions.  Then it was up the side of the mountain to the Red Crater – another steep section, this one with lots of loose gravel.  We stopped at the top from where we could see the Blue Lake.   We stayed at the top enjoying the view, and had to turn back at that point, the track was closed because of eruptions.

The climb back down was hard – I was hobbling by the time we got to the bottom of the Devil’s Staircase, but we made it and are looking forward to doing the walk again next year when the track is open all the way so we can complete the journey.