Generally, you start the crossing at the Mangatepopo car park and walk one way to the Ketetahi car park. As it is a one way track, you need to organize for transport from the Ketetahi car park. There are a number of shuttle services that provide transport or, if you happen to have two cars, you can leave one at each car park. We originally did the full crossing a few years ago and used a shuttle service from our hotel. This time, we just decided to leave our rental car at the Mangatepopo car park, hike up to the Red Crater and then head back the way we came to pick up our car. It ended up being about a 16 km walk for us, a little short of the full crossing, but my legs still hurt the next day, especially as we climbed to the highest point.
You need to be prepared to do the crossing. It is classifed as a "tramping track" which means that it is challenging, parts may be unformed, rough or steep and, for goodness sake, don't wear flip-flops/jandals. There isn't any water or food available along the way and you need to have a whole range of clothing as you never know what the weather will bring. You always see a few people that just don't quite realize what they've gotten themselves into. They probably should have looked at the Department of Conservation's website here and maybe done some research before they set out.
|This is a map of the crossing. If you are a middle-aged lady like me, checking out where the toilets are is a pretty important part of the planning process. Source: Department of Conservation|
|The crossing starts at 1120 meters and then climbs to 1886 meters at the Red Crater before descending to 760 meters at the Ketetahi carpark. I seemed to have forgotten how much of a climb it was the first time we did it. I'm not sure that if I had remembered what was involved if I would have done it again. Of course, now that I have climbed up to the Red Crater for the second time, I am glad I did it. But that's always the way it is - you curse and moan while you're doing crazy things, but happy that you met the challenge in the end. Source: Department of Conservation|
|Right before you start your climb up to the South Carter, you see this sign urging you to consider turning back if the weather is poor, if you don't have the right equipment and clothes and if you aren't fit enough. We carried on.|
|This is what the climb to South Crater looks like. A lot of blue poles showing you the way, some stairs and a lot of lava to walk across.|
|And another Mount Doom shot. This time from the South Crater. Although, I think they wish we would stop calling it Mount Doom and start calling it by its proper name - Mount Ngauruhoe.|
|Walking through the South Crater was such a relief. Relatively flat terrain - yeah! And it seems to be covered with these tribble-like plants. If you don't know what a tribble is, congratulations, you aren't a geek.|
|Oh good, we're climbing again. In this particular section, they have ropes along the way to help you up and keep you from tumbling down into the South Crater. Handy.|
|Oh good, you're still here. I give you Red Crater.|
|One of the main draw cards of the crossing are the lakes. This is a view of the Emerald Lakes. The picture really doesn't do justice to their color. As the name says, they are an amazing emerald shade caused by the minerals seeping into them.|
Linked up with Bonnie, Kaelene, Sammy & Van for Travel Tuesday.