Myriam's Tongariro Crossing experience

 

Turangi, 5.30 am. We open our eyes in our room. It feels cold outside but the sun is coming th​rough the blinds with the promises of a beautiful day.

 
Today we are doing the Tongariro Crossing. It is one the things many people new to the country do in their first year living here, but I have been living in Auckland for more than three years now, and I have yet to do it – until now!
 
Once we have our ice breakers and hiking shoes on, and after a little coffee and some advice on the track from the owner at our accommodation, who pretended to be able to do the walk wearing crocs, we are ready to go. We choose the option to leave the car at the hotel and catch the bus, which picked us up at our accommodation, to the beginning of the track.
 
 

Around 8am we are starting the track from the Mangatepopo end. The ascension is steeper on that side but a few of our friends advised us to do it that way – so the “hard” part is at the start of the day.
 
The landscapes and the light are amazing; it is a very sunny day. After a good hour and a few stairs we reach a lunar looking area. 

 

 

The dust looks like steam coming out of the ground. It is completely new and exciting; we have never seen anything 
like that before. We keep going slowly, it’s a very cold day and I am a little bit out of breath.
 

We reach the summit around 11am and it is absolutely stunning. We can see the famous Emerald Lakes and the view goes on and on on for kilometres. 

 

The soil has extraordinary colours: reds, red-brows, 
greens…

I feel so lucky to be here and I am trying to take good pictures knowing I won’t be able to capture what I am experiencing right now.

 
 

We now start the “easy” part of the hike, going downhill for the rest of the day. 
After passing the Emerald lakes we walk through a dust bowl for a while and we then discover a different type of scenery - it almost looks like French Provence. Chatting away for hours and being enchanted by the view we almost don’t notice that our legs are starting to shake! The last two hours feel very long, as we descend slowly and my knees are getting sore.

 

 
Luckily we are now walking under the shade of native trees and the atmosphere is fresh and quiet.
 
 

After 6 hours of walk we finally get to the end of our little adventure, tired and happy! We have a short nap on the grass waiting for the bus to come and pick us up.
 
 
The Tongariro Crossing is definitely a must do, it is accessible walk fitness wise, and it is empowering and exciting.