Never climbed an active volcano before. It’s a good idea to take a friend just in case it erupts. Walking with a local guide is also an excellent idea. Even though, the weather is glorious and picture perfect you just never know… There’s definitely no cafe or scones anywhere around here but fortunately there is one toilet stop, so you must be grateful for modern ingenuity and conveniences.
Heading off on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing so it’s an early start with a pick up from Chateau Tongariro by Walking Legends who are able to access the back roads. The last eruption had increased the traffic congestion so everyone had to do a round trip rather than the usual one way walk from the Mangatepopo parking area to Ketetahi parking area. Normally it takes 6-7 hours and is nearly 20km. GOOD NEWS! The whole track will be reopening on the 8th of May, 2013 so you will be able to continue on past the Blue Lake Saddle but the area is still considered an active volcano zone. Here’s a map. New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) has plenty of information about the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and the latest eruption hazard information so you can be well prepared. Take plenty of water as it is advised not to drink from the volcanic streams and lakes (and you have less chance of falling in or over). I only just discovered another benefit of genius and technology in DOC’s app Tongariro Crossing Pocket Ranger which tells the ‘unique stories of the awesome landscape of the Alpine Crossing’. How clever! Today, there’s plenty of enthusiastic hikers out enjoying the sunshine but from now on, it’s all uphill. How steep can it get?