The Tongariro Crossing in the North Island's National Park is a hike that I've previously done in Summer but had eager to conquer in the Winter scenery. It's an epic 20km hike which I've had my eye on for a while, namely because I'd been trying to co-ordinate with my friend Mother Nature.
Rich in both cultural identity and dramatic, awe-inspiring natural scenery, this one way hike shows off unique landforms, including the volcanic peaks of Ngauruhoe, Tongariro and Ruapehu. It's a world renowned trek which sees almost 3000 visitors a day in the Summertime.
We set off with our guides at Adrift (an essential when hiking in Winter), up devils staircase reaching the base of Mount Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom for Lord Of The Rings fans) before reaching the Blue Lake and turquoise crater lakes at the summit where we fuelled up on lunch with a view. The ice up here can be slippery and the slopes steep, so our guides allowed up to slide down the volcano sides on our backsides, a surreal feeling that i'll never forget. (Note: tuck your jacket into your pants and you'll have a more comfortable walk back down to the carpark base).
The Winter route is slightly different from that in Summer and to witness this unreal scenery drenched in white snow was a real contrast that felt well deserved.
The 5 hour journey itself can't be done without endurance and in Winter- a guide, crampons, an axe and plenty of layers are essential. The climb can be steep and the weather unpredictable, though worth it in every aspect.
Face the challenge and feast on adventure, this hike is one of my favourites in New Zealand where you're treated to picturesque views and inspiring landscapes.
You'll have deserved a good pub meal after this one. The townships of Tongariro, Ohakune and Taupo are all closely located.