Tongariro Crossing

Today we did the best hike I have ever done in my life: the Tongariro Crossing. Tongariro National Park, which happens to be the second oldest national park in the world (after Yellowstone), is home to what many people call “the best one-day hike in New Zealand.” We didn’t want to do any multi-day hikes this trip, but one day sounded good to us. We picked a day at random, drove down to the tiny town of Raurimu to stay the night, and this morning we woke up early to drive to Whakapapa Village, where a shuttle would take us to the starting point of the hike.

And what a day we picked. The sky was clear, the temperature was perfect, and there were not that many other hikers- I’ve heard that this hike sometimes attracts hordes of people, and it’s bumper-to-bumper traffic just to climb up a hill. Not today. I think we have good weather mojo 🙂

The best part about it was that the hike went through such varied terrain: past a volcano… over streams, then through a crater, overlooking the real-life Mordor… then past some brilliantly-coloured lakes… through a bit of snow (it may be spring but we’re at altitude!) into grassland… and finally underneath a canopy of native bush before emerging into a carpark. My favorite part, however, was the middle part: the Red Crater, Emerald Lakes, and Blue Lake. We ate lunch by the largest of the Emerald Lakes, and I think I spent the whole time gazing at it. I would highly recommed this hike to anyone.

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