Day 44: Rest day. We had pushed through and cut a two day journey into one the day before. Now just waiting for the weather to clear for the crossing. Hitched into Turangi for coffee, small resupply and lunch.
Day 45: Tongariro to Whakapapa village, 34.5km / 51,944 steps. The NZ legendary Tongariro crossing was on the cards for today. Luckily the weather had come to the party and moved most cloud out of the way for a spectacular day. I started early, knowing there was a lot of trail to cover. The first stage was a warmup road walk and a chance to peer up at Tongariro along the way. We then entered the trail proper and walked under tree cover while slowly scaling uphill. After a while the trees opened up and we were heading up the side of the mountain, with stunning views ahead and magnificent scenery behind us. My photos can’t do it justice. I hit an old hut for the first breakpoint and just marvelled at the landscape. There were a ton of hikers on the trail today, a lot international, and most coming the opposite way. This made the going up a bit slower, as every minute was navigating past people. We pushed on and continued our way up until we hit blue lake about 1750m up for another break. Another push on and we started scaling the loose rocks to red crater, with amazing views of Ngauruhoe aka Mount Doom, lake Taupō, blue lake and the surrounding mountain ranges. We made our way down, with the crowds thinning out, and pushed on before a late lunch. Heading downhill now, through volcanic rock and then over boardwalks we made our way to our final breakpoint at a fully-loaded hut. Now with views of Ruapehu and small amounts of snow, we charged onto Whakapapa Village for dinner and drinks at the pub before crashing out at the holiday park. It was an extraordinary day, likely the longest and toughest (447 floors climbed) I’ve done on the TA, but definitely the most rewarding. Donate via the link in my bio