The Tongariro Alpine Crossing in Tongariro National Park is one of New Zealand‘s most spectacular tramping tracks, and is considered the most popular one-day tramp in New Zealand. 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 Mt Tongariro, passing the eastern base of Mt Ngauruhoe which can optionally be climbed as a side trip. The 19.4 km (12.0 mi) walk is renowned for its barren yet beautiful “moon like” volcanic landscape, unusual geological features, visible volcanic activity and views of the surrounding countryside below.
-Description per Wikipedia
Photo of the Tongariro Crossing accredited to Wikipedia Commons.
The alarm woke us from a deep slumber at the ungodly hour of 5 am. The sun was just beginning to rise and we had slept very well in our cozy room at The Loft B&B Lake Taupo. We were extremely tired yet had that familiar excitement and energy that comes before setting off on an all-day hike. Today was the day we were waiting for: Our eight-hour trek to the world-famous Tongariro Crossing, one of New Zealand’s greatest one-day tramps.
We dressed quickly in our hiking gear and gathered our pre-packed lunch that Grace, our inn host, prepared the night before. Peter was up and greeted us with a smile while serving our pre-dawn breakfast at the B&B. We ate hastily and were out the door by 6 am, just as the sun had risen and electrified our sensational surroundings. It was going to be an awesome day!
We drove to town to our pre-determined waiting spot for our transport to Tongariro National Park. There we met two friendly Dutchmen who were joining us on the day’s adventure. We chatted incessantly, comparing notes of where we’d been during our visit to New Zealand, until suddenly we noticed it was approaching half past six. The bus was no where in sight. I started to get worried and continually checked my watch. By 6:45 there was still no sign of the bus. Luckily one of the Dutch guys had a cell phone (nothing was open that early in the day). He called the tour company who informed him that the bus wasn’t coming. The crossing was closed due to poor weather.
I was so disappointed! I felt like my previous elation and anticipation of the day had suddenly deflated like a pin pricking a balloon. I couldn’t believe that the tour company didn’t even bother to phone us and let us know. At least we would have been able to sleep in! We said goodbye to the Dutchmen and headed back to our B&B to go back to bed. Despite my severe disappointment, we weren’t going to let a bad start ruin our day. The Tongariro Crossing would have to be for our next trip. Ironically, the weather had cleared enough that night for us to see the tramp that wasn’t meant to be. Off in the distance, the Tongariro Crossing was beckoning, teasing and telling us that it was leaving us a reason to come back someday to New Zealand.
Photo above taken that night at our restaurant, it had finally cleared up and in the background we saw it, the Tongariro Crossing beckoning and inviting us to someday come back again to do the tramp that wasn’t meant to be.
Stay tuned….See what other treks we were able to discover that day that made it not a complete waste! Only two more New Zealand posts left and then I’m off to Guatemala in approximately seven days! 🙂