In Turangi that means taking bookings for the most popular one day walk in NZ – the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. But we have a BIG problem with the Crossing which we wish to share with you.
Last summer they had severe crowding on the trail with over 4,000 hikers per day over the busy New Year holiday period. See images above…
The restricted car parking (worse than Auckland!) and shuttle bus drama added extra costs to the confusion making the whole experience one that most do not want to repeat. They all complained to SWMBO who, as usual, has a solution. Only this time it is a brilliant alternative option.
This is no less challenging but has many advantages over the Tongariro Crossing. It offers a much more rewarding experience, easier access to vast parking areas, far less distance, no crowding, better views, civilised mountain facilities and cafes at the start and finish, but with no defined track.
We repeat – there is no “defined” track. So you will need a “navigator”. The most difficult lumpy section at the start of the journey is the easiest – it can be completed in style using the skiers new 4 seater chair lift.
There are also other options – like a circuit to Taranaki Falls and Tama Lakes – for when the weather closes in or during high winds when a summit climb is not wise.
To give you a better visual impression, TRM’s wonderful guide Hannah has now prepared a short video presentation of a TRM group trip to the summit of the highest mountain in the North Island.
Note their wide range in ages and abilities – from younger fit 20’s-something to ancient slow dinosaurs over 70. It is suitable for everyone – all you need is a spirit of adventure.
Hannah is arranging several ‘guided’ ascents as soon as daylight saving is restored.
With a group the individual costs per person are affordable and novices will know they are in safe hands (or feet?) as it is wise to go with someone who hikes up there often.
Indeed, as you read this she is on another training tramp up there with a group of 12 to go much further over the top and down the other side sleeping in snow caves for three nights around the central plateau aiming to “knock off” the three summits on their way through. Perfect fine weather for them this week.
This is mentioned to reassure you that she is completely familiar with the extreme alpine conditions up there.
All you need is a reasonable level of fitness, an urge for a BIG adventure and a sense of humour.
Contact TRM now for further info and suitable dates.
This is one great walk that every Kiwi should have on their bucket list…