Nick & Gill's Round the World Trip 2006/7 travel blog

Our hotel - The Grand Chateau dominated by the volcano Mt Ruapehu,...

The volcanoes Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom, Morodor in LOTR) & Mt Tongariro

The moon-like South Crater, Tongariro Crossing

Nick by the edge of the still active Red Crater (1886m), Tongariro...

Nick reaches the Emerald Lakes, Tongariro Crossing

Lunch stop overlooking the Central Crater, Tongariro Crossing

The steaming Ketetahi Springs, Tongariro Crossing

Boots off waiting for the bus with other tired trampers, Tongariro Crossing

WHAKAPAPA (TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK) - Thursday 8th February to Friday 9th (Days 104 & 105)

Travelling via Lake Taupo we made our way from Napier into the heart of the magnificent Tongariro National Park, staying in a tiny village, Whakapapa. We had booked into one of NZ's most famous hotels, the Grand Chateau Hotel, completely dominated the volcano Mt Ruapehu (see pic). It is the most active of the volcanoes in the area and last erupted in September 1995. On the day we arrived Gill read in the local paper that the eruption of 1995/6 blocked the overflow of its crater lake and that a lahar (basically alot of mud and water) was due to cascade down the volcano at anytime soon! Gill was in a complete panic about this for the rest of our stay! Her feeling of impending doom wasn't helped when she then read the instructions in the hotel room for evacuation should this happen!!

While Gill 'relaxed' at the hotel I undertook the famous 'Tongariro Crossing', often called the the finest one-day walk in NZ. Although it was a long and exhausting days hike (it took me about 6 hours) it was well worth it. With the weather pretty good the views were spectacular as I walked through volcanic craters and old lava flows up past Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom, Mordor in LOTR) and Mt Tongariro. I passed Red Crater, still active, smelling of suphur with steam coming from it, then down to the Emerald Lakes, water-filled explosion craters. All spectacular and not to be missed.

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