NZ Great Walks - Tongariro Northern Circuit

Quite like Mordor but without Orcs

On this trail you can walk on Frodos paths through Mordor. Mt. Ngauruhoe is the Mount Doom from the famous Lord of the Rings movies. The hike features the famous Red Crater and the Emerald Lakes.As we had really bad weather it actually felt pretty close to Mordor. Although we didn't see Tongariro or Ngauruhoe after the first day we had a funny trip and we can now imagine how Frodo must have felt on his way to Mount Doom.

Official Website

Tongariro CRossing

This is the famous one-day hike to the emerald pools and the craters. Recommended if you have not that much time. It is !!extremely!! crowded during summer. Like an ant road of people.


Tongariro Circuit

We made the Trip in 3 days which is no problem at normal pace. We startet in the afternoon from the Tongariro Visitor Center (after discussing the snow conditions with DOC) and walked up to Whakapapa hut. We had nice views of Mt Ruapehu and Mt Tongariro in this first part of the walk (which should change the next two days). After 2 and 1/2 hours walk we arrived at the Mangatepopo Hut and were happy to see that some people had already put the fire on. Feeling good and looking for the next day, the weather forecast said the weather will be good for the next days (how wrong the forecast can be).

After we had a good night sleep we were woken up by heavy rain the next morning. We had breakfast hoping that it would get better. But after two more hours we had to admit that we have to go out in that shitty weather. So we made ourselves as waterproof as possible and started our trip. Halfway up the first part we were totally soaked and had to fight strong wind and rain. On top of the Devil's Staircases the rain turned to snow. This was actually the best thing to happen as it was less wet with the snow. Surprisingly we met a tourist group up there in the snow storm! The Red Crater and the Emerald Lakes looked like a white crater and white lakes this day.

But walking in the snow was sort of fun and we could slide the hill down quite a bit. The last part of this day lead us through the lava fields of Mordor down to Oturere Hut hut where we made a short stop to dry our soaked clothes and had lunch. The rain had become lighter and so we were continuing to Waihohonu Hut where we stayed.

The next morning we were happy to see that the rain had stopped and was replaced by fog. So we didn't see more than the day before but we stayed dry. On our way out of the park we stopped at the Taranaki Falls and were happy when we arrived one hour later at the car park. All in all the tramp was a bit disappointing but we tried to make the best of it and we will maybe once come back for it in summer.


If you are not the tramping type of person, you can get the best part of the park on the one day Tongariro Crossing.