Category Archives: Hiking

The best day hike yet: Tongariro Alpine Crossing

We must take a hard road, a road unforeseen. There lies our hope, if hope it be. To walk into peril – to Modor.

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

Perilous it was for the hobbits but not so much for us humans. Even for inexperienced hikers like LF and myself. The 20 km trek through Modor to Mt Doom across the Tongariro National Park offers the most amazing and varied views in one hike, thus making it the best hike yet, for me.

Our transportation to and fro was arranged by our accommodation, Adventure Motel, which included an early, and very important, hearty breakfast and two scheduled pick ups where the hike ends at Ketetahi carpark.

Foggy start at about 8AM along a relatively flat and easy path/board walk from the Mangatepopo Carpark to Soda Springs. Also where you would find a row of portable toilets, the first and last toilet stop for a long while.

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

Everyone started out in layers and a thick outer coat which we ended up shedding layer by layer until we could shed no more by the time we reached Soda Spring. The section from Soda Spring to South Crater was an absolute killer, climbing from 1400m to 1600m. At one point where the steps were really steep, I had to stop for a couple of seconds almost every 5 steps up to ease the burning in my thighs. *cough inexperience hiker*. In my defense, Singapore is an extremely flat island.

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

Just when I thought my thighs could take it no more, we finally arrived at the bottom of Mt Doom where our party of four parted ways. Frodo and Sam left to ascend Mt Doom in their endeavour to destroy the One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them , One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

While LF and I continued on across the South Crater which in reality is not a crater but a basin. I suppose crossing the South Crater really does sound cooler than crossing the South Basin. This shot was taken after we had cross the South Crater, which is basically the expanse of flat brown land you see in the shot, and climbed on loose scoria up to the exposed ridge.

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

Said ridge in shot below. Also, AMAZING VIEWS and my favorite blue skies!

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

Moving on along the ridge and the view on our right.

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

Until we arrived at the Red Crater.

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

Taking a well deserved short break. Short break because we were worried we wouldn’t be able to complete the hike in time for the second pick up and also because we were spurred on by the lady at our accommodation who mentioned that Asians don’t usually make it for the first pick up. The sun was shining down on us but the wind was absolutely brutal.

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

The view of the sacred Blue Lake from the Red Crater.

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

Starting our steep descend down to the ridiculously picturesque, albeit stinky, Emerald Lakes.

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

This portion of the trek was one where we were reminded, prior to the trek, to concentrate on each step down and NOT to take photos unless at a complete stop as it was a steep descend on loose scoria.

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

Past the Emerald Lakes.

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

Past the blue lake and a short climb to the edge North Crater across a flat expanse towards Ketetahi Hut.

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

Round the mountains with spectacular views over Mt Pihanga and Lake Rotoaira to Lake Taupo.

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

The long and winding path down to the final section of the trek, the forest section.

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

We no longer stopped for a break not just because we didn’t know how long more it would take for us to complete it but because we could barely get our legs moving again after a short stop.

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

On and on we go, having our lunch on the go.

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

The forest section! Finally out of the Active Volcanic Hazard Zone into safety and what we hoped was almost the end.

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

Maybe after the next turn?

New Zealand - Tongariro Crossing

Many turns later, we made it to the Ketetahi Carpark in time for the first pick up! Much to the surprise of our accommodation owners and us. That said, we were the last of the group from our accommodation to arrive at the end despite being comparably young AND without a lunch break.

At least for a while,’ said Elrond. ‘The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.