02.08.10

Tongariro Alpine Crossing – Conquering Mt Doom

Posted in Landscape, Nature, People, Travel at 4:52 pm by Warren Williams

My friends and I decided we needed a larger challenge to conquer, than just a small Waitakere bush walk. We’d been talking about re walking the great Tongariro Crossing over the past couple of summers, but only just managed to put into action. Road trip ahead, as we tested Pete’s new wagon. We bunked down in National Park for two nights, whilst spending much of the time trekking over the mountains of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom), and Ruapehu.

Lake Taupo
Lake Taupo from the southern end

Tongariro from car
First sight of Tongariro coming from Taupo and Turangi

Chateau Ruapehu
Bayview Chateau Tongariro (nestled on Mt Ruapehu)

Chateau Golf course
Bayview Chateau Golf Course – New Zealand’s highest course


Road tripping with Mark, who previously ascended Cradle Mountain, Tasmania with me


Pete’s new car – too bad about the motor?


From one of the stream crossings driving up Mt Ruapehu

Driving Mt Ruapehu
Zooming upwards on Mt Ruapehu – North Island’s tallest mountain and volcano, at 2,797 metres

We parked late in the evening at the Bruce carpark, and found the place deserted. Free roam of the mountain! We ventured up around 1km up the rocky slopes, as the temperature quickly dropped.

Ascending Mt Ruapehu
Mark, Warren, Kat & Pete against the barren rock of Ruapehu

Strangely, the clouds around us descended beyond our elevation, revealing the glowing sunset across the west. Was quite amazing to witness a sunset with a cloud base lower down.


Amazing light being filtered around Ruapehu


Defining ridge lines on Ruapehu


Various volcanic rocks and high altitude plants

The following morning, we had to wake at the crack of dawn to catch the shuttle to the start of the great Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Witnessing an amazing sunrise across all three mountains certainly made it worthwhile.

Mt Doom Sunrise Lord of the Rings
Sunrise over Mt Doom

Sunrise over National Park
Sunrise from National Park / SH47 intersection

Amazing New Zealand Scenery
Amazing New Zealand Beauty

Arriving at the Mangatepopo carpark, we were now ready to tackle the 19.4km long mountain crossing.


First steps along the 19.4km long Tongariro Crossing


The intital track starts deceptively easy!


Great view of Mt Ngauruhoe

Tongariro Crossing Boardwalk
The final 1km stretch leading to the saddle, connecting Tongariro and Ngauruhoe.
This section was the hardest, with a steep incline, and noticeable difference in breathing

Mt Doom and tussock grass

The camera was put away for the next 45min as we climbed the Mangatepopo Saddle


Success!


Following the Saddle, we drop again, in the enormous South Crater of Tongariro, before climbing one of the ridges offering great views


Sheer cliffs, along the ridge


Climbing out of the South Crater, with cloud cover blocking one side of the mountainside


Reaching the Tongariro Summit, at 1,967metres


From Tongariro summit, peering into South Crater

Mt Tongariro 360 degree Panorama
360 degree panoramic from the additional Tongariro Summit walk


View looking down to the Emerald Lakes and Red Crater


View down the fun scree slope, with Blue Lake in the backdrop (perfect place to moon jump)

Emerald Lakes - Tongariro
One of the Emerald Lakes, caused from leaching minerals

Emerald Lakes, Tongariro


Tongariro Emerald Lakes


Further views of the Emerald Lakes, with steam rising from the ridge


Low cloud cover at the Ketetahi Hut (well, over 1,400m isn’t exactly low!)


With some much needed Red Bull


And away with the camera it was, as the rain came down for our last hours walk downhill.


Dusk over Mt Ruapehu and the winding highway

The following morning we made the short walk to to the lovely Lake Rotopounamu – an easy walk, however we were all suffering from fatigue and muscle pains after a full day of walking the previous day.

Lake Rotopounamu
Lake Rotopounamu


Mark, chilled out

The drive home was non eventful, although we did try our luck at the Hole in One challenge on Lake Taupo. Out of 25 balls, I managed to land 6 very close to the hole on the floating pontoon, 102metres out.

3 Comments »

  1. octavian brezean said,

    May 24, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    excelent trip you and your friend made, Lake Rotopounamu is lovely indeed đŸ™‚

  2. Ben said,

    June 1, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Hey Warren, some great photos. Enjoy your blog.
    Cheers
    Ben

  3. Warren Williams said,

    June 2, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Thanks guys! Was an amazing experience.

    Check out the new site,

    http://williamsphotography.co.nz

    Cheers,
    Warren

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