Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall charting our adventures as we sail around the world. We're sailing up and down the east coast of Australia after a summer back in Britain.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Six Go Mad in Tongariro - Part 2

There may be trouble ahead.....
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a challenging hike - 19.4km, climbing to 1850m above sea level and skirting around a volcano that last erupted in 2012. Nevertheless, it has become one of NZ's most popular day hikes with around 80,000 people doing it each year (and about two a week being helicoptered off!). We took local advice and, having left a car at the finish point the night before, arrived at the start at 06.00 to be ahead of the groups who arrive by bus. 

We were incredibly lucky to have almost perfect weather conditions - light winds and clear skies - and, although the start was a bit of a shock at only 4 degrees centigrade, the walking was pretty straightforward. The photos will, we hope, give you an idea:

The start of the trail, fleeces and long trousers needed. Di borrowed a walking pole from Shona and found it great as a guard against possible unplanned helicopter rides.
Early morning sun throwing long shadows as we climb
High-altitude vegetation
Resting, with the cone of Ngaurahoe (2287m) behind us
Looking back across the Southern Crater - the track from top-centre to bottom left is clearly visible
Scaling Mt Ngaurahoe is possible but it's a scramble up scree and adds 3 hours to the hike, so we didn't bother.
The 'Armageddon Light' - as in "Armageddon out of here!" if it flashes!
The Red Crater
A feature known as a dike in the side of the Red Crater. It was formed when molten magma moved to the surface through a vertical channel in the crater wall. It was left hollow as the magma drained out from its base and, being harder than the surrounding scoria, has been exposed by wind  and rain erosion.
Descending towards the Emerald Lakes - the very loose surface makes it a slippery slope
Steam venting near the Emerald Lakes
At the Emerald Lakes, looking back up to the Red Crater
Looking back towards the Red Crater, with Ngauruhoe behind
The Te Maari crater steaming gently. In 2012 it erupted without warning,,,,,
.... and hurled football-size rocks through the roof of the hikers' hut 1.5km away. Luckily no-one was sleeping there that night

.. and say a few prayers!
So, after just over nine hours we descended into the forest and wearily climbed into the car. A cream tea at the nearby Chateau Hotel revived us en route back to the cottage at the end of a fantastic day. Strangely enough, the trains didn't disturb our sleep that night!

1 comment:

  1. We loved that hike too! What a perfect day and lovely pictures!