Hiking in Hiker Paradise

New Zealand's Great Walks: Tongariro Northern Circuit
  |  Gorp.com
Tongariro Northern Circuit

Smack in the center of New Zealand's North Island lies Tongariro National Park, a landscape of raw, exploded violence, and snaking through it is the Tongariro Northern Circuit.

The Tongariro Northern Circuit takes walkers up close and personal to three active volcanoes: It circles Ngauruhoe, an almost perfect classically dome-shaped volcano, passes over the shoulder of Tongariro, another active volcano, and gives good views of massive Ruapehu to the south. Hikers with a little bounce left in their boots can climb Tongariro (from a half hour to two hours round-trip) or Ngauruhoe (two and a half to three hours).

The terrain is stark and dramatic: An active, steaming deep red crater, emerald lakes, steam vents, and ash and pumice all attest to the volcanic forces that shaped the land. For much of one day, the route is contiguous with the so-called Tongariro Crossing, which is known as New Zealand's most beautiful day hike.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 25 May 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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