Mt Tongariro Awakens after 100 Years

Last night New Zealand’s Mt Tongariro erupted for the first time in 115 years. The eruptions appear to have occurred at Te Mari Crater, which is not far from the Ketetahi Hot Springs on the northern side of the mountain. It will be interesting to see exactly what impact these eruptions will have the 19.4km-long Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of New Zealand’s most beautiful and spectacular daywalks. For those unfamiliar with the Tongariro Alpine Crossing here are a few images to set the scene.

 

Mt Tongariro, along with Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu, form a chain of active volcanic peaks within the Mt Tongariro National Park. This world Heritage site is New Zealand’s oldest national park and one of its most visited.

A few years back Karen and I walked the Tongariro Alpine Crossing as part of the longer Tongariro Northern Circuit. We spent six days on the trail and wrote a feature story for Outdoor Australia magazine.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing was certainly the most exciting part of the walk as it allowed us to walk around smoking craters, see into their gaseous depths and even step over jets of hot steam.

The landscape is almost totally barren and very rocky. If it wasn’t for the large snow patches on nearby Mt Ngauruhoe you could easily imagine yourself walking on the surface of Mars.

 

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2 Responses to “Mt Tongariro Awakens after 100 Years”

  1. Gillian August 28, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    Hi Glenn…isn’t this just one of THE best day walks, one of five best I’ve done in many parts of the globe. Interesting that the local Maori knew the eruption was on its way ’cause they observe on the ground..the Emerald Lakes dropped in levels and Ketetahi Springs became way more active in the days preceding…love this part of NZ..but then I’m besotted by all of NZ’s mountains and N Parks. Nice pics…I had a great day when I did Tongariro crossing…crystal clear, cool and above low cloud. wow! G 🙂

    • Glenn Tempest August 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

      I have to agree Gillian. Probably one of the best daywalks in the world. Has to be in the top ten (or maybe 25!). Really hope things return to normal soon and that walkers will be able to cross again this summer. Karen and I enjoyed the crossing so much that we did the ‘big bit that counts’ three times in two days. On the first day we crossed with heavy rucksacks. Early the next day we walked back over then returned the same day. We were pretty tired but exhilarated. Even helped a couple of people who were not going to make it over in a day. We thought one guy was going to have a heart attack…! A very memorable walk.

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