This article is written like a travel guide rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (March 2009)
|Tongariro Alpine Crossing|
View from the summit over the Emerald Lakes, across the Central Crater, to Blue Lake. Autumn 2004.
|Length||19.4 km (12.1 mi)|
|Location||Tongariro National Park, North Island, New Zealand|
|Trailheads||Mangatepopo Carpark |
|Highest point||Red Crater, 1,886 m (6,188 ft)|
|Lowest point||Ketetahi Carpark, 760 m (2,490 ft)|
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing in Tongariro National Park is a tramping track in New Zealand, and is among the most popular day hikes in the country.The Tongariro National Park is a World Heritage site which has the distinction of dual status, as it has been acknowledged for both its natural and cultural significance.
The crossing passes over the volcanic terrain of the multi-cratered active volcano Mount Tongariro, passing the eastern base of Mount Ngauruhoe.
The full distance of the track is usually 19.4-kilometre (12.1 mi).
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is usually walked from Mangatepopo in the Ruapehu region to Ketetahi Hot Springs, due to the Mangatepopo end being higher in altitude (1,120 m or 3,670 ft) than the Ketetahi Hot Springs end (760 m or 2,490 ft), therefore requiring less climbing. The crossing takes about seven hours of steady walking to complete in good weather, taking longer in winter or if walked from the Ketetahi end.
The crossing is a linear journey, starting on the west side of Mount Tongariro and finishing on the north side. As a result, returning to the western end requires, retracing the 19.4 km crossing, walking 26 km via State Highways 46 and 47 back to the other trailhead, or completing the Tongariro Northern Circuit.
The track begins at the western end near the Mangatepopo Hut with a low gradient until the foot of the steep Tongariro saddle. After the climb to the saddle, the path takes descents and ascents into and back out of two different craters, passing the Emerald Lakes and along the edge of the Blue Lake. The last two hours of the walk involve a long descent down the northern flank of the volcano, passing the Ketetahi Hot Springs. New Zealand Mountain Safety Council's video on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Climbing of Mount Ngauruhoe as a side trip from the main crossing is not allowed anymore (as requested by the local iwi ) and track markings were removed.
There are no guaranteed fresh water supplies on the walk. Springs in the area are often scalding hot and tainted with minerals and dissolved metals from the volcanic activity. Most natural water in the area is not drinkable. The Ketetahi Hot Springs, about 10 minutes from the Ketetahi hut, is privately owned by the local iwi Tuwharetoa and has been placed out of bounds since the 1990s when a tourist was scalded to death.[ citation needed ]
|Mangatepopo Carpark||0.0 km (0.0 mi)||0h 00m||1,120 m (3,670 ft)|
|Mangatepopo Hut||1.5 km (0.9 mi)||0hr 25m||1,190 m (3,900 ft)|
|Soda Springs turn-off||1h 30m||1,350 m (4,430 ft)|
|South Crater||6.4 km (4.0 mi)||2h 30m||1,650 m (5,410 ft)|
|Red Crater summit||3h 30m||1,886 m (6,188 ft)|
|Emerald Lakes (Oturere Hut turn-off)||9.0 km (5.6 mi)||3h 50m||1,695 m (5,561 ft)|
|Ketetahi Hut||5h 15m||1,450 m (4,760 ft)|
|Ketetahi Carpark||19.4 km (12.1 mi)||7h 00m||760 m (2,490 ft)|
Until 2007 the crossing was called the "Tongariro Crossing", but this was changed to the "Tongariro Alpine Crossing" to emphasize the extreme weather on the exposed terrain. Almost the entire length of the crossing is in volcanic terrain with no vegetation and fully exposed to weather – at moderate altitude. As the crossing is easily accessible, it is walked by large numbers of tourists and casual walkers each year. The Department of Conservation is concerned about trampers being unprepared for the conditions they may encounter and introduced the name change to warn the many poorly equipped visitors of potential hazards. Key hazards are the high wind chill factor, the rapid change in weather and very poor visibility in the sudden storms with blinding snow and cloud. In 2006, two people of an estimated 65,000 walkers died on the track. Although the route is marked with poles, it is quite common in poor weather for visibility to be severely reduced. Poles may be snow covered or destroyed by wind gusts in winter.
Most of the walk is through raw volcanic terrain. The three volcanoes in the area are all highly active and the terrain reflects this. Solidified lava flows, loose tephra, and solidified volcanic lava bombs abound. Large amounts of minerals are brought to the surface and are highly visible in the colours of rocks and ridges. Active fumaroles abound on several sections of the walk, constantly emitting steam and sulphur dioxide gas into the air and depositing yellow sulphur specks around their edges. The lakes and pools on the walk are deeply coloured by the volcanic minerals dissolved in them. Some areas feature large springs emitting near-boiling water and torrents of steam. The terrain underfoot for most of the walk is either sharp edged new volcanic rock or loose and shifting tephra, mainly ash and lapilli. In some crater areas it is finer ash that has become moist and compacted.
In August 2012 a small eruption of 10,000 cubic metres of ash from the Te Maari (sometimes spelled Te Māri or Te Mari) craters on Mt Tongariro sent a shower of ash and blocks up to 1m in diameter over the track. The blocks damaged the roof of the Ketetahi hut which is 1.5 km west of the explosive craters. No one was hurt. The alpine crossing was temporarily closed as about 75% of the track is within 3 km of Te Maari. The track is usually to windward of Te Maari as the prevailing wind is west to south west in this region. When mixed with rain the ash forms a gritty mud. In late November 2012 Te Maari crater again erupted an ash cloud 4,000m high over a 5-minute period. About 100 people were in the vicinity including a group of 20 13-year-old students from Gulf Harbour school but no one was injured. The crater is visible from the Ketetahi area. There are no tracks to Te Maari as it is an unstable, volcanically active zone. The Tongariro Alpine track was closed for 4 days but the other 12 tracks on the mountains were left open. Fumaroles remain active around the active rim of Te Maari crater and there is a strong smell of sulphur gas close to the rim.
Mount Ruapehu is an active stratovolcano at the southern end of the Taupo Volcanic Zone in New Zealand. It is 23 kilometres (14 mi) northeast of Ohakune and 23 km (14 mi) southwest of the southern shore of Lake Taupo, within Tongariro National Park. The North Island's major ski resorts and only glaciers are on its slopes.
In New Zealand, long distance walking or hiking for at least one overnight stay is known as tramping. There are a number of walkways in New Zealand, however most of these are relatively short and can be walked in a day or less. Many are also an easy walk, with well formed footpaths. However, some tracks require an overnight stay either because of the rugged country or the length of the track.
Mount Taranaki / Mount Egmont is a dormant stratovolcano in the Taranaki region on the west coast of New Zealand's North Island. Although the mountain is more commonly referred to as Taranaki, it has two official names under the alternative names policy of the New Zealand Geographic Board. The 2518-metre (8260-foot) mountain has a secondary cone, Fanthams Peak, 1,966 metres (6,450 ft), on its south side. Because of its resemblance to Mount Fuji, Taranaki provided the backdrop for the 2003 film The Last Samurai.
Mount Ngauruhoe is an active stratovolcano in New Zealand. It is the youngest vent in the Tongariro volcanic complex on the Central Plateau of the North Island, and first erupted about 2,500 years ago. Although often regarded as a separate mountain, geologically it is a secondary cone of Mount Tongariro.
National Park is a small town on the North Island Central Plateau in New Zealand. Also known as National Park Village, it is the highest urban township in New Zealand, at 825 metres. Its name derives from its location just outside the boundary of Tongariro National Park, New Zealand's first national park, and its only national park from its creation in 1887 until 1900. The village has great views of Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe, and Mount Ruapehu.
Tongariro National Park is the oldest national park in New Zealand, located in the central North Island. It has been acknowledged by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site of mixed cultural and natural values.
Mount Tongariro is a compound volcano in the Taupo Volcanic Zone of the North Island of New Zealand. It is located 20 kilometres (12 mi) to the southwest of Lake Taupo, and is the northernmost of the three active volcanoes that dominate the landscape of the central North Island.
Ohakune is a small town in the North Island of New Zealand, situated 215 kilometres north of Wellington and 292 kilometres south of Auckland. It is located at the southern end of the Tongariro National Park, close to the southwestern slopes of the active volcano Mount Ruapehu. Located within the Manawatū-Whanganui region, the town is 70 kilometres northeast of Whanganui and 25 kilometres west of Waiouru.
The North Island Volcanic Plateau is a volcanic plateau covering much of central North Island of New Zealand with volcanoes, lava plateaus, and crater lakes.
Rangipo Desert is a barren desert-like environment in New Zealand, located in the Ruapehu District on the North Island Volcanic Plateau; to the east of the three active peaks of Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe, and Mount Ruapehu, and to the west of the Kaimanawa Range.
The Whangaehu River is a large river in central North Island of New Zealand. Its headwaters are the crater lake of Mount Ruapehu on the central plateau, and it flows into the Tasman Sea eight kilometres southeast of Whanganui. Water is diverted from the headwaters for the Tongariro Power Scheme.
The New Zealand Great Walks are a set of popular tramping tracks developed and maintained by the Department of Conservation. They are New Zealand's premier tracks, through areas of some of the best scenery in the country, ranging from coastlines with beaches to dense rain forests and alpine terrain. The tracks are maintained to a high standard, making it easier for visitors to explore some of the most scenic parts of New Zealand's backcountry.
New Zealand has a large number of hot springs, known as waiariki in Māori. Many of them are used for therapeutic purposes.
In Māori tradition, Ngātoro-i-rangi (Ngātoro) is the name of a tohunga (priest) prominent during the settling of Aotearoa by the Māori people, who came from the traditional homeland Hawaiki.
The Tongariro Northern Circuit, one of the New Zealand Great Walks, is a three- to four-day tramp in Tongariro National Park, New Zealand. The hike includes the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a day's march that incorporates the Northern Circuit's most stunning scenery. The complete trail forms a 50 kilometres long loop trail that circumnavigates Mount Ngauruhoe. Approximately 7,000 trampers complete the walk each year. This compares to the approximately 25,000 who walk only the Tongariro Crossing section.
The Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley is the hydrothermal system created on 10 June 1886 by the volcanic eruption of Mount Tarawera, on the North Island of New Zealand. It encompasses Lake Rotomahana, the site of the Pink and White Terraces, as well as the location of the Waimangu Geyser, which was active from 1900 to 1904. The area has been increasingly accessible as a tourist attraction and contains Frying Pan Lake, which is the largest hot spring in the world, and the steaming and usually pale blue Inferno Crater Lake, the largest geyser-like feature in the world although the geyser itself cannot be seen since it plays at the bottom of the lake.
The volcanism of New Zealand has been responsible for many of the country's geographical features, especially in the North Island and the country's outlying islands.
Mount Binuluan is a remote volcano in the Kalinga province of the Cordillera Administrative Region of the Philippines. The 2,329-metre-high (7,641 ft) mountain is part of the Cordillera Central mountain range on Luzon island, the largest island in the country. Binuluan exhibits active volcanism through numerous fumarole fields, solfataras and hot springs on its slope. There were reports of possible eruptions in 1952 and 1986, but they are unverified.
The Tongariro Power Scheme is a 360 MW hydroelectricity scheme in the central North Island of New Zealand. The scheme is currently operated by electricity generation company Genesis Energy.
Hauhungatahi is an eroded volcano at the southern end of the Taupo Volcanic Zone in New Zealand, located about 11 kilometres (7 mi) WNW of Mount Ruapehu. Although relatively little-known, at 1,521 metres (4,990 ft) Hauhungatahi is one of the highest volcanoes in New Zealand, exceeded in elevation by only Ruapehu, Taranaki/Egmont, and the Tongariro massif. The volcano is constructed atop an upfaulted block of Mesozoic marine sediments. The age of the erupted andesite lava is about 900,000 years, making Hauhungatahi more than three times as old as the neighboring Ruapehu.