Following continual complaints from disappointed tourists about the crowding on the Tongariro Crossing – “the best one day walk in NZ?” – TRM have been comparing other walking tracks in this region to give tourists a better perspective of what else there is available. The feedback from so many has been confirmation that we are on the “right track”. (That is TRM’s attempt at a pun?)
The reputation comes largely from the advertorial in Lonely Planet – as “Reputedly the best one day walk in NZ, the Tongariro Crossing traverses spectacularvolcanic geography, from an active crater to steaming vents.” The rest is history.
Back then shuttle buses charged $25/10/35 adult/child/family. Now it is almost double that. But it is not the cost of shuttle bus transport that tourists complain about. It is the severe crowding and long queues on the track.
So when we get keen tourists who are fit enough to cope with the 19+ km Tongariro Crossing, wanting to avoid the crowding, the BEST alternative we recommend is the ascent of another live volcano which is the highest mountain in the North Island – Mt. Ruapehu – 2797m. Comparatively it is only 9 km or about 4-5 hours, after 3 hours walking is saved by using the ski lifts, without a track most of the way. Instead of the expense of shuttle bus transport we recommend the ski lift to get started.
This is also a built-in safety consideration to know if the weather is not suitable – i.e. too windy, the ski lift will not be operating. So have a look at the TRM team that tackled the summit climb in 2016 – the oldest was over 70. All of them had already done the Tongariro Crossing in previous years and voted the total Mt. Ruapehu experience as far better. OK? SWMBO will tell you that TRM inmates are always right.
That is a much more memorable scenic option than persevering with the parking security issues and severe crowding waiting in queues on the Tongariro Crossing during summer months.
Or if you are really keen and looking for adventure, join Hannah, TRM’s guide, on her three peak adventure covering the entire National Park in winter!
But what about the fishing I hear you ask? If you had seen the numbers of rafts and canoes and rubber tubes and swimmers drifting down the Tongariro river then you would understand day time fishing is almost a waste of time. The only sensible time is very early or after dark. One angler, Alex, called in yesterday to show us some great photos of fresh BIG browns he has managed to hook and land on dry flies over the last few nights.