Walking Over Volcanoes

Mt Ruepehu

Mt Ngauruhoe

Coming over to New Zealand I hadn’t really planned on doing too many hikes.  Since this expedition was more about surfing and snowboarding I wasn’t really interested in doing any more walks after the amazing Milford Track which is considered one of the most beautiful walks in the world, and after doing it, I can see why.

However, I was told of a day walk on the north island that was suppose to be New Zealands best day hike, and it went across the Tangariro National park which is basically a massive volcanic area that has several peaks, one of which was used as Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings.

I drove down from Auckland mid week to the center of the North Island south of Lake Taupo. I arrived late, around 8 pm and decided to sleep in the van at the car park at the end of the track.  I had arranged a ride from the end of the track to the beginning so I could just walk back to the van.  It generally takes 6-8 hours to complete the track and goes over 2 volcanic peaks over a 18.5 K (11.5 miles).

I made a quick dinner and had the back of the van open for about 30 min while I cooked at dusk, which was a big mistake because the mosquitoes where vicious and huge.  The whole night I was awoken by buzzing in my ear, and had to use a flashlight to try and find them.  I must have killed 30 throughout the night.

The next morning I was picked up by a shuttle and driven to the start of the track about 22 k away around the volcanic pass.  I started the walk with about 50 people around 9 a.m.

Fog In Crater

Fog In Crate

The morning and beginning of the track was fairly clear and sunny, but as we climbed up to the pass the clouds rolled in and socked in most of the good views of Mount Ruapehu and the summit walk to Mt Ngauruhoe. I was pretty annoyed wit the cloud cover, and knew I was missing some spectacular views.

Foggy Crater

Foggy Crater

Once over the pass, we walked out to a huge flat crater.  At times is was so foggy I couldn’t see feet in front of me.  Once in a while the cloud would blow through and a clearing would open up, and the scale of the place could be felt.

Quick Clearing

Quick Clearing

Once through the crater we climbed up onto the Red Crater.  This massive hole in the ground would be what one would think a volcanic crater would look like.

Volcanic Valley Looking To The East

Volcanic Valley Looking To The East

Volcanic Valley

Volcanic Valley

Red Crater

Red Crater

Red Crater

Red Crater

Red Crater

Red Crater

Red Crater

Red Crater

Red Crater

Red Crater

Red Crater

Red Crater

Red Crater

Red Crater

We walked up and over the Red Crater and descended down a steep ash slope to emerald pools.

Emerald Pools

Emerald Pools

Emerald Pools

Emerald Pools

Emerald Pools

Emerald Pools

Emerald Pool

Emerald Pool

Emerald Pool

Emerald Pool

Emerald Pool and Red Crater

Emerald Pool and Red Crater

Emerald Pool

Emerald Pool

Volcanic Flower

Volcanic Flower

Volcanic Flower

Volcanic Flower

Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Red Crater

Red Crater

Red Crater

Red Crater

Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Red Crater

Red Crater

The rest of the walk was out and down the volcanic plane and down the backside of the mountain through bush and then forest and finally back to the van.  It took me 7 hours and several blisters.

Valley

Valley

View Looking North

View Looking North

Hot Springs

Hot Springs

The Track

The Track

Hot Springs

Hot Springs

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19 responses to “Walking Over Volcanoes

  1. Was this the same one we passed on in November? I think it was. Glad you finally got to do it!

  2. What an awesome, fascinating and interesting blog and pictures. I wonder how many kilometers you walked? But it looks as if every step was worth it. I really envy you!!!

  3. Hey,
    Enjoy your travels. I read your about page. I have had the chance to be in over 20 countries and you are right it takes a few weeks to really become aware of what a place is like. Unfortuanately, I only spent a month in the Himalayas hiking. Got to go back.
    There is a picture of me in the Hunza valley on my blog about page I like to share. http://thewondertechnique.com/about/

    I have yet to be to New Zealand so thanks for the inspiring pictures of Red Crator and more.
    Cheers,
    David

  4. Did this walk back in 1999, and it was stunning. And a night in Taupo after to drink some well deserved Beer. Thanks for the blog and the memories.

    Also a good walk on the same trip was Abel Tamen in the South Island.

    Brilliant memories, will have to go back.

  5. Sorry – too excited and typed too fast. Should read Abel Tasman.

  6. Emerald polls are so BEAUTIFUL!

  7. WOW! Gorgeous photos! Thanks for sharing your adventure.

  8. Stunning pictures! Congratulations! I wish I could visit New Zealand one day!

    http://www.fernandosouza.org

  9. love these photos,
    heavenly beautiful!

  10. These pictures are amazing!! I really would love to go to New Zealand…

  11. This looks like an amazing hike. I enjoyed reading/looking at your post. Keep it up!

    sfas
    http://giveitasecondlook.wordpress.com

  12. impressive shots especially the “red_crater_6.” volcanic rocks always amazes me. the colors and the textures. not to forget the emerald pool. wow

  13. WOW! I loved reading this! Fabulous pictures by the way! Your shots of the Red Craters and the Emerald Pools are just breathtaking! I felt like I was there!!! Well, minus the blisters that is… But seriously, thanks for sharing your adventure!

  14. Beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing.

  15. I love these pictures – especially the Volcanic Flower…that’s amazing 🙂

    http://imnotfancy.wordpress.com

    cheers,

    Tasha

  16. What outstanding photos.

    As someone with a long interest in volcanos I’ve made a point of visiting many. One of my first encounters was with the very area you’ve photographed in New Zealand. I flew over the area that you’ve trekked through in producing this remarkable collection of images.

    Earlier this year, motivated by watching the sun rise each morning over Mt Agung in Bali, and a post from a fellow blogger I posted this material on Australia’s volcanos – ‘Australia and Volcanic activity – thoughts prompted by Neil’s Blog and Mt Agung in Bali’ http://wp.me/pyLY9-ao

    Yes Australia has volcanos, even if they aren’t very active right now. I hope you enjoy my observations.

  17. Amazingly wonderful 🙂

  18. Absolutely beautiful and breathtaking. I can’t imagine seeing it all in person.
    Love you, Phil.
    ~ Aunt Sandy

  19. Ya, took me a while but finally got back. Would have been cool if we had done it, but I think we would have been hurting the entire way, so we probably made the right call.

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