Tongariro Crossing from Mangetepopo to Ketetahi
The Tongariro crossing considered one of the worlds best one day tramps takes you on a journey through an old glacier valley and over an active volcano passing a series of recent and ancient craters. At a distance of 18.5 kms the walk is a challenge rising a total of 1000 meters before descending 1200 meters. To complete the walk trampers should allow 6 to 9 hours.
A brief description of the Tongariro Crossing
The Tongariro crossing starts in the Mangetepopo valley. Slowly rising up the valley past the Mangetepopo hut and through lava fields along the Mangetepopo stream before reaching the Soda springs. It is then a steep climb up the saddle known as the devils staircase and onto the South crater a large open crater. Follow the poled route across the flat crater before rising steeply again to reach Red crater. On a fine day you get superb views of the Kaimanawa ranges and Rangipo Desert.
Here at the highest point on the track it can be cold and exposed on a windy day so most will quickly drop onto the far side. Dropping steeply (take care) over loose rock on the left is the Central crater and on your right are the Emerald lakes with their distinctive colour created by sediment dissolved in the water. The emerald lakes are a nice place for a spot of lunch.
You then cross the Central crater and a small rise to the Blue lake a large cold water crater lake passing the lake on the left side you then start the decent through a narrow valley before opening up to open mountain side with views north towards Lake Taupo.
Before long you will reach the Ketetahi hut a great place to stop and rest for 15mins. Superb views of Mount Pihanga, Mount Tihia and Mount Kakaramea.
You are now on the home stretch traversing the mountain side passing the Ketetahi springs. This is located on private land so please keep to the track. The decent is moderate and drops down through native trees before reaching the Ketetahi car park and the end of the track.
Be prepared. The Tongariro Crossing is located in an alpine environment. Warm clothing and plenty of food should be carried and suitable footwear should be worn.
Tongariro Crossing Transport
With private access currently not an option you must book through a tour operator. Luckily Dempsey Buses & Snow Express are located just next door to the hotel! They will pick you up and drop you back to the hotel with ease.
Please note: Due to 2012 Volcanic activity the northern section of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing remains closed. Much of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is open however, including what most consider the most scenic leg past Ngauruhoe and up to the Emerald Lakes, with its stunning volcanic landscape, and there are dozens of other tracks on both mountains to explore.”
For more information on the Tongariro Crossing and activity updates you might try http://www.tongarirocrossing.org.nz/