Tongariro National Park Journals

Tramping in Mordor... volcanic Tongariro National Park

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A February 2003 trip to Tongariro National Park by wanderluster

Tongariro Crossing Photo, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand More Photos
Quote: Tongariro National Park is a remote volcanic wilderness smack in the middle of New Zealand's North Island. The eerie windswept moonscape scattered with smouldering mountains, colorful craters, alpine plants, and mesmerizing mineral lakes was absolutely fascinating to explore.

Tramping in Mordor... volcanic Tongariro National Park

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Mount Doom or Mount Nguruhoe Photo, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
Quote:
The highlight of our stay was trekking across the famed Tongariro Crossing. The eleven mile hike took us through an active volcanic region over bizarre lava rocks, up steep ridges, past limpid green lakes and colorful craters that livened up the barren desert landscape. Tramping along the strange otherworldly terrain turned out to be one of the favorite hikes in my life. Someday I'd love to return to do the four day Northern Circuit around the Tongariro volcanoes. We stayed two nights at Skotel Lodge in Whakapapa Village, which proved to be a great base while exploring the region. The tiny village has just two choices for accommodation, a few restaurants, and an informative Visitor Center where ...Read More

Skotel Alpine Resort

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Hotel

Skotel Alpine Resort Photo, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
Quote:
The Skotel Alpine Resort sits at the top of the world in the center of the North Island amid snow-capped mountains, beautiful green forests, and volcanic desert terrain. Its selection of accommodation is almost as varied as the surrounding landscape. You can stay in the hostel wing, sharing a dorm or a private double room; the main lodge in a standard or deluxe motel room; or away from everyone in a shared cabin or chalet. Prices range from NZ$20 per person in a dorm room to NZ$205 for a 4-person chalet in the winter (high season). A standard double room in the lodge, where we stayed, cost NZ$110 (US$58). Oddly, it was the same cost as staying in a private double room in the smelly...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 29, 2003

Skotel Alpine Resort
Whakapapa Village
Tongariro Mountain, New Zealand

Dining at Skotel Lodge

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Restaurant

Dining at Skotel Lodge Photo, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
Quote:
In Whakapapa Village, you can eat at Skotel, the Grand Chateau, or Ferguson's Coffee Shop. We ate most of our meals at Skotel out of convenience since we were staying there. The dining room was impressively decorated with big wooden beams, warm woods, and huge picture windows providing awesome views of the surrounding mountains. But the food was mediocre. And expensive. Entrées cost NZ$26-28. Our first meal cost NZ$99. We each had a glass of house wine, a Caesar salad, chicken entrée, and dessert. Although we had specifically ordered side salads, our waitress brought (and charged) venison Caesar salads, adding another NZ$16 to our bill. The venison was actually quite tasty--much more t...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on March 29, 2003

Dining at Skotel Lodge
Skotel Alpine Resort
Tongariro Mountain, New Zealand

Tongariro Crossing

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Attraction | "Fabulous Tongariro Crossing Trek I"

Tongariro Crossing Photo, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
Quote:
The Tongariro Crossing, billed as NZ''s best one-day hike, was like walking on Mars . . . scrambling over giant lava rocks, trekking along high ridges of active volcanoes, sliding down scree, catching dramatic views of a red crater and eerie green lakes through clouds of sulphur, zigzagging through reddish tussock grasses past steaming vents and gray-colored streams . . . "The hardest hike I''ve ever done, but bloody well worth it," my husband said at the end of our 11-mile hike. We had climbed a quarter of a mile in altitude, but the landscape was otherworldly fantastic! I. Mangatepopo Valley to Soda Springs (1.5 hr) A bus picked us up at our hostel in Whakapapa Village at 7:3...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 29, 2003

Tongariro Crossing
Tongariro National Park
Tongariro Mountain, New Zealand

Tongariro Crossing

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Attraction | "Fabulous Tongariro Crossing Trek II"

Tongariro Crossing Photo, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
Quote:
IV. Red Crater to Emerald Lakes (20 min) As we rounded Red Crater''s highest point (1886m), three striking crater lakes came into view. Brilliant shades of translucent green contrasted against bleak beigey volcanic terrain. The scenic highlight of the Crossing was mesmerizing. Descending, we ran down the ridge, digging our heels into soft ashy black scree, like going down a sand dune. Those who took timid steps slid and fell uncontrollably. The Emerald Lakes were a popular place for lunch even though it was freezing, windy, and smelly. The strange mineral waters encrusted with a yellow layer along the outer edges of the neon-green lake were fascinating. But, at times, the sulphur ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 29, 2003

Tongariro Crossing
Tongariro National Park
Tongariro Mountain, New Zealand

About the Writer

wanderluster

wanderluster
Evansville, Indiana

Tongariro National Park Tips & Stories

Take a Hike: Doing the Tongariro Crossing