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The Tongariro Crossing

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Written by Vijay Kuve   
The crossing is situated within the National Park of the same name, North Island New Zealand. It is said by New Zealander's to be the best Trek in the southern hemisphere.

North Island has the famous town of Rotorua with the constant odour of hydrogen sulphide - bad eggs to you and me. This smell emanates from fissures called fumaroles, literally open wounds in the earth's surface from which smoke and steam are released.

The Crossing, as it is known locally, encompasses all the above, but within a dramatic and different scenario.

This area of National Park is well protected. There are special arrangements for transport with coaches leaving local camp sites. Parking a car nearby is seen as unwelcome.

A coach will drop you off at the end of a dirt track, for the start of your Trek, and will be waiting for you at a coach park which is at the end of another dusty track.
You are counted 'in' and counted 'out' to ensure no one is lost.

It will take at least six hours to complete the Crossing, few do it quicker, as a rule it takes much longer. Views are spectacular; distant snow covered volcanoes can be see from most parts of the Trek.

The walk is through what can only be described as a 'moon-scape'. The areas between the volcanoes are strewn with pumice debris, and some quite large rocks. It is by nature bare of vegetation, and is somewhat bleak.
For the enthusiast - and very fit - Mount Ruapehu at 2797m is the highest peak.
Most walkers will reach 2200m by taking the main track.

These photographs, taken in October, show a snow covering that remains throughout the year. During winter the Park is a major attraction for skiers with considerable snow falls.

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