The Tongariro crossing is probably one of the most famous hikes in New Zealand. Recommended time to complete it is 8 hours. Yep, 8 long hours of pure hiking.
The first 2 hours were a real killer, I almost stopped and turned back. I didn’t realise how unfit I had got from travelling for 10 months. After the first couple of hours (and lunch stop), I started to really get into it and enjoy it, i even lead the way for our group!
The toughest part was called “devils staircase”, its exactly as it sounds. Only it’s not really a staircase it’s a huge pile of steep rocks you have to climb through and up. Everyone in my group struggled with this, I felt like I was going to pass out. But we stopped at the summit for a break. The landscape you see along the way is breath taking. One minute you’re walking on the driest, flattest desert. Then round the corner is a flurry of the greenest trees and rivers flowing through. Then there’s the red crater, a huge volcanic drop that is of course a bright red colour. All of this while walking past Mount Doom, the scariest looking mountain in the world, also featured on Lord of the rings I believe. We got to the top of one really steep mount and below us was incredible. The two emerald lakes, the ones that are in all the brochures and on every postcard. When I saw them, I knew it was all worth it (5 hours into it). But to get down there was the most difficult and funniest challenge, imagine a really steep ski slope but only there’s no snow, it’s all soft mud. We were basically skiing down there, falling over one by one. It was ridiculously steep – and funny.
After hours of walking we made it to the finish line in 7 hours. I was really impressed with our time and was proud of myself for completing it. It was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done and to say I did it is a real achievement.