Tongariro Northern Circuit

Thanksgiving Weekend, November 2020

We have been planning to attempt the Tongariro Alpine Crossing for many years. And finally got a chance to complete it as part of the Tongariro Northern Circuit.

The plan was for a 4 day, 3 night tramp around Mt Ngauruhoe staying in DOC huts. Rented a car for the drive to the mountain, leaving it at the Chateau Tongariro Hotel for the duration of the trip.

The weather was not looking so good, but after checking in with the Tongariro National Park Visitors Centre, they advised a clockwise route was viable. Not the case for an anti-clockwise route.

After a very leisurely 3 hour walk, the first night was spent at Mangatepopo Hut. The weather forecast for the following day was a little worrisome. But when morning arrived, conditions had improved, combined with a late start, the crossing was quite possible. It actually turned out to be a beautiful day, with hardly any wind at Red Crater.

The second night was spent at Oturere Hut. the weather forecast for the next day was for some heavy rain. But it was pleasant evening, and that was enjoyed.

Up very early to get a 7am start on the trail. The thought being, if I make good time on the trial, then likely walk all the way out of the park to avoid too much wet weather and swollen rivers. By 9am I was at Waihohonu Hut and my fate was set. It would be another 4 hours before I finished the circuit, completely drenched, but successful. Combining day 3 and day 4 was the right move, completing the 22 kms in a little over 6 hours.

The weather forecast for Saturday at Red Crater is not looking so good.
Mt Ngauruhoe.
Red Crater