Day 16 – The day we climbed a volcano {The Tongariro Crossing}

Up before the sunrise today to get ourselves ready for our big volcano walk. We had booked to do the Tongariro Crossing with a local guide company. We are both experienced walkers and felt that we probably could have done the walk ourselves, unaccompanied. However after reading online reviews and being between seasons, we weren’t 100% sure how the conditions would be up top the mountain and so opted for the safer, more reliable option and went with a guide. It was our first experience walking with a guide and so were a little nervous as to how it would be. Would we be too slow, or have to make awkward conversation the whole way round, or would we miss our little chats we usually have when walking. But all was good and it turned out to be a really great day, and an experience that I doubt I would have enjoyed so much if it weren’t for our guide.

DSC_0002

^^^ Always a need to colour co-ordinate, even when climbing a volcano ^^

DSC_0004

^^ It looked just how I imagined a volcano would look ^^ 

DSC_0010

^^ Lava flow left from a previous eruption (I can’t remember the exact date of this one which has been bugging me so will try find out) ^^

DSC_0012

Our guide, a fellow Pommy, was great and so easy going. He was clearly passionate about walking and the outdoors and even more so about this area and the volcanoes in particular. He knew just about everything you need to know about the area. Pointing things out to us along the way and explaining the geology of the area, like rock formations and the remains of past volcanic eruptions, all things I am sure we would have missed if walking alone.

DSC_0020

^^ It really felt like we were on another planet walking through this landscape ^^

DSC_0023

^^ Looking out over Mordor {this was used as the location of Mordor in the Lord of the Rings films and you can see why} ^^

DSC_0026 DSC_0029

^^Looking down into Red Crater ^^

DSC_0035

^^ This last erupted is 1850 blasting off the top and creating this amazing crater ^^

DSC_0047

^^ Alice and Mt Ngauruhoe ^^

DSC_0048 DSC_0049

The crossing we took, was 19 km with a nice mix of incline and flat. The one upside I found to having a guide, is that they are good at setting a nice pace within the group. Alice and I tend to walk pretty fast and so burn out quicker, especially on those steep climbs. Whereas today we stuck behind the guide and slowly plodded along, meaning I barely noticed we were climbing and managed to breathe normally the whole way rather wheezing my way up the steep climb.

DSC_0052

^^ Our little group at the highest point on the crossing ^^

DSC_0055 DSC_0070

^^ The Emerald Lakes – beautiful to look at, but awful to smell ^^ 

DSC_0073 DSC_0080

^^ Eggy whiff ^^

DSC_0084 DSC_0090 DSC_0100

^^ Steaming vents that are evidence of the August eruption. Apparently this vent is giving off more greenhouse gases than all the cars in New Zealand put together. Pretty bad, but we were glad to see it venting today and letting off that pressure ^^

DSC_0101

^^ These impact craters are left from flying rocks thrown during the eruption^^

DSC_0111

^^ The Chateau Tongariro Hotel with the snowy peaks in the distance ^^

DSC_0113

^^ Driving away the next day and seeing so much low cloud and rain, made us feel all smug inside that we chose the previous day to do our walk ^^

To summarise our day, I would say it was very much a success. The weather was perfect, the guide very informative, meaning we are now both a little bit more clued up when it comes to Volcanoes (I say a little so no geography testing there Dad), and another New Zealand ‘must see’ ticked off our list!

On to Rotorua tomorrow for a well-deserved spa day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s