Things we learned:
The campsites here are outstanding. They all have a kitchen area with stoves and very often pans, cutleries, plates. An indoor dining area with a couple of tables is standard as well. For us, travelling with a regular car and a tent this is heaven.
Toilets are usually very clean. Even the public ones you find all over the country in little villages are very clean and quite usable. No need to avoid them.
So, in general the facilities for getting food in and out of your body are very well designed and tidy. Thumps up NZ! We very much appreciated this…
Stuff we saw:
Stuff we did:
We knew we wanted to do the Tongariro Crossing. One of the most known hikes in NZ.
The perfect base for this is a little campsite between start and finish of the walk.A short drive brought us there. We stayed in a cabin for 2 nights, so that after returning to the camp we wouldn’t have to drive but could have a lazy evening.
The whole Tongariro Crossing is very well organized: busses pick you up at the campsite drop you off at the starting point and pick bring you back from finish to the campsite.
It is a very popular walk. Hundreds do it every day, during low season. On high season in can be several thousands. As we are not friends of being part of a large heard when hiking we were pretty happy it is early in the year when the number of people is still ok.
The first part is a long hike up a valley. The sun shines on the far away Mount Egmont. A picture book Volcano. It is cold in the morning, below freezing. But as soon as the sun gets over the hills it warms up. And the walk warms up too. After one hour the path steepens up.
After a short crossing in a sort of alpine surrounding the real fantastic part of the walk begins. Craters with little lakes in it, the view on other volcanoes, the red crater and finally a long walk down in to the valley. We have the best weather you could imagine. The views are stunning.
It is quite a nice walk.
Would I recommend it to a friend? Well, I would in the future start in the West and walk the same way up and down. If you start early enough you can enjoy the mountain almost by yourself.