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The best way to face the hike is to book a shuttle service, they will drop-off you at the starting point and then pick-up at the end. If you are looking for a cheaper solution, you can leave the car at Mantegapopo, walk half the trail to the Blue Lake and then come back. Kep in mind that last section of the road is not paved and rental car insurance does not usually provide coverage in such a case.
The hike itself is not so challenging, about 20 km, less than 1000 meters ascending difference in height, some difficulties may arise from the extremely unstable weather. These mountains are very close to the sea, we turned around them for 3 days and we always found rain and clouds. Local people told us that this is the standard weather here.
To make it short: it is a path that generates many expectations, often turning into big disappointments. If you want good chances to enjoy the Crossing in a sunny day, you should arrange a flexible travel plan so that you can spend a few days in the surroundings waiting for the right moment.
Last but not least: nobody sells anything along the path, you must bring everything you need with you (water, food and so on).
Short description of the hike: we left at the sunrise from , an electronic sign tells the volcanic activity level. Hikers can proceed only with green light. Unfortunately, we are surrounded by , we can try to take some but the weather is very unpleasant. Both and reminds us some paths on Mount Etna.
There is a short detour to the , then we start the ascending part of the hike, . The just before and , just a few glimpses that increase regret for the bad weather. We are now over half the route, that passes next to the , where last eruption happened. From here is possible to look at the . Along the descent we pass through the , just a hut with toilets.
In the long descent to the valley we point ouu , and finally the , before we can have some rest at , waiting for our shuttle.
- http://www.tongarirocrossing.com/ (shuttle service with car park)
- http://www.discovery.net.nz/ - our choice to sleep next to Tongariro Crossing. They claim to bring you at the startin point in the morning before any other similar service