I must say that the day I spent in Tongariro National Park was totally incredible. First, I had never climbed a mountain (this mountain was a 1900 meters-high volcano, just saying) and second, I had never seen such amazing landscapes. But that’s what New Zealand is all about, right? Incredible views!
Climbing Mountains in Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park is situated in New Zealand, on the North island. On Saturday morning, the bus driver took us on one side of the volcano, told us how amazing the day would be, and told us he would wait for us on the other side later that afternoon.
We started climbing, under quite a depressing sky. But it was still very early, so the sun had not yet fully risen. In the beginning, the path was nothing more than a gentle slope. However, soon enough, we attacked the aptly named “devil staircase;” honestly, if you’re not physically fit, this is the moment you need to be mentally strong. It’s hard: stairs, stairs, more stairs in front of you than behind… you have to keep in mind that the views are worth it, and anyway if you can’t feel your legs anymore, at least they are not in pain!
The more we went up, the closer we were to the clouds, sometimes even penetrating them. And sometimes, a very strong wind cleared the view.
Just before we reached the summit, the fun began: the stairs were gone, but we almost had to do some rock climbing. Speaking of wind: it would have been okay without it, but here it was so strong that it took us 40 minutes to walk the last 100 meters. Not even joking. But still, it was worth it.
See? Just when we started going down on the other side, it was like we arrived in another dimension. Suddenly, the wind was gone, the clouds too, and we just had to sit on a rock to admire the Emerald lakes, this amazing view, and realize that it was not that bad after all.
After going down to the crater, we had to go up again to go back down on the other side of the volcano, which took us the rest of the day. Of course the views were also amazing because the sun was shinning and the colors were fifty shades of blue.
Calling all Lord of the Rings fans: if you feel like it, at the crossroad you can take the path to the Mount Ngauruhoe, known as Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings. But if you don’t want to walk the 3 hour-return path, you can still admire the mountain from everywhere in the region!
My tip: though it’s great that a bus can drop you on one side of the volcano and pick you up on the other, I honestly think it’s better to organize your own trip there. You won’t have to worry about the time (because, you know, the bus won’t wait on the other side all night long). Moreover, I’d rather join a group trip to walk with (and almost climb!) rather than doing it on my own. It’s a long day, and it’s great to share this experience with fellow travelers!
Have you ever been to Tongariro National Park in New Zealand? How was the experience for you? Let us know in the comments!
Thank you to our Guest Blogger, Stephanie Bayle for writing this post about her experience in Tongariro National park in New Zealand. To read more about Stephanie, visit her website.