position S035 19.100 E174 07.200

Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Thu 6 Dec 2018 08:25

Sunday 4th Nov. Tongariro Crossing.

The crossing is a popular 1 day hike in the Tongariro national park about 20km long. The day before at the tourist centre in the town we arranged for a minibus to take us to the start of the walk and pick us up at the end.  Our preparations were meticulous-we had both purchased some decent walking shoes from the sale rack in a very good outdoor shop in Rotarua as boat shoes/crocks would definately not be suitable. I had previously bought a nice lightweight waterproof sailing jacket (in the sale of course) in a chandlers in Aukland.

The walk was closed the previous couple of days due to high winds- we assumed that  because they had opened it for us it would be no more than gently breezey. It started that way but with low cloud so that we could see only a couple of hundred yards ahead. The normally photogenic snow  capped peak of Nguaruhoe was hidden shyly from view. 

There was a little group of 1/2 a doz from our bus and more vehicles arriving in dribs and drabs. Aparently the walk can attract several thousand a day in the peak period. A pair a chinese girls looked dressed for a stroll on the beach and were sent back to their car by the bus driver to put on more clothes.

The walk starts nice and easy with lots of boardwalk over marshy bog.

Then the climb up and as we reached nearer the ridge the wind increased and we started to see walkers coming back down saying it was too windy on top.
We were inching along the ridge on a narrow path with steep drops both sides hanging on to each other for fear of being blown off. Some young walkers asked us if it was safe to continue. I was thinking probably not but having survived that far it must surely get easier soon.

We crested the coll and found a rock to shelter behind with a few other rather scared looking souls. But then it was down a scree slope and the wind was easier.

Through the central crater.
The cloud was slowly lifting and even in the gloom the Emerald lakes had a green tinge. A bit lower and the Blue lake was emerging blue with a glimpse of blue sky

Then the cloud really did clear and we were rewarded with some magnificent views down to lake Rotoaria

An interpid mountaineer.

The Alpine plants and lichens were a delight.
We made it back to pick up point after around 7 hrs since the drop. Quite a long last few km through forest.

Our replament bnb (instead of the Yurt) was a lovely Shepherds hut on a farm near Raetihi.