I got a nice surprise today! I was trawling through the Te Araroa website looking for my next walk, when I discovered that, all unbeknownst to me, the Tongariro Crossing was included. I actually did this walk several years ago, on New Year’s Day, and it still ranks for me as the best walk I’ve done – and that includes the Milford Track, which is popularly supposed to be the most spectacular in New Zealand. Anyway, I’m not about to repeat sections I’ve already done – it’s the same with the Milford Track (I want to do all the Great Walks, but have already done Milford and therefore don’t feel obliged to do it again). So that means I can tick off the Crossing.
It was a lovely sunny day when I did it, and I could see Mount Taranaki clearly from the top of the Devil’s Staircase. Walking through the South, Red, and Central Craters was amazing; Mount Doom (aka Ngauruhoe) satisfied my inner fangirl; and the tussock landscape around Ketetahi is just beautiful. (I spent several years on my OE and missed tussocks more than anything else, I think – I love the way they look, and fields of them waving in the wind somehow feels like home.) It’s a shame I’ve lost the photos, but I’ll be going back to Tongariro National Park sooner or later to do the Northern Circuit (another Great Walk) and that covers the same ground, really, as the Crossing, so I’ll take more then.
So that’s another tiny bit of Te Araroa shaved off. I’m feeling even more satisfied with the walk in retrospect, now.