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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.