The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is no doubt one of New Zealand’s most spectacular treks. I feel like you can’t really claim you’ve explored the country’s North Island if you haven’t done this challenging, yet totally thrilling day walk. In fact, around 10,000 hikers complete this hike yearly. This 19.4km trek takes between 6 to 8 hours to complete, but the surreal views are more than worth the effort. As you traverse this alpine crossing, you’ll encounter diverse and spectacular volcanic terrains, steaming vents, hot springs, and other out of this world landforms.
This area is also famous for another reason. Tongariro National Park is the filming location for Mordor in the Lord of the Rings films. Yes, that’s right, you can literally walk into Mordor! For those unfamiliar, Mordor is the stronghold of the dark villain, Lord Sauron. J. R. R. Tolkien describes Mordor as a “barren wasteland, riddled with fire, ash, and dust. The very air you breathe is a poisonous fume… There is evil there that does not sleep.”
Mordor is where the two Hobbits, Frodo and Sam, crossed to destroy the ring at Mt. Doom. The stand in for Mt. Doom is Mt. Ngauruhoe, one of the most spectacular sites you’ll see as you climb this trek. Some people actually take a detour and climb Mt. Ngauruhoe. The way is very steep and there is no marked path. It’s not advisable because large rocks often fall and you can seriously get hurt.
I can’t emphasize enough how surreal and breathtaking this hike is, so I’ll let the photos do the talking. This is definitely something you should add to your bucket list. To know more about this track, head to this website where they have useful information about the trek, including a detailed map and what to bring on your hike. The Department of Conservation also has detailed and up-to-date information you should check out before your hike.
*Photos below are in chronological order of the hike
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