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Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Whakapapa to Mangatepopo Hut - Easy 3 hrs if dry (up to 5 hrs if wet), 8.5 km.
Mangatepopo Hut to Oturere Hut - Long steep climb then fairly easy 5 hrs, 12.8 km.
Oturere Hut to Waihohonu Hut - Easy 3 hrs, 5 km.
Waihohonu Hut to Whakapapa - Easy 5 hrs, 14.3 km.
Map Data: Google, Digital Globe, Department of Conservation (DOC).

Click on the arrow button
below to explore this walk.
Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
WHAKAPAPA VILLAGE to MANGATEPOPO HUT - A fairly easy 3 hours / 8.5 km - as long as the track is dry. In wet conditions, this section of the walk can be very slippery and muddy and can take 5 hours.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
The walk starts 100 metres below the Whakapapa Visitor Centre at the end of Ngauruhoe Place and takes us along the lower Taranaki Falls track.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
The track sidles across the flanks of Mount Ruapehu. The tall perfectly-shaped volcanic cone we see in the distance is Mount Ngauruhoe.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
The walk passes through three small pockets of beech forest before entering the large patch of forest in the valley of the Wairere Stream.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
After 20 minutes walk, we come to this bridge and cross over it. Alternatively we could do a small side trip and carry on straight to Taranaki Falls. The track to the falls and back to here is easy and it will add about 90 minutes to today's fairly short easy walk. Either way, we will end up crossing this bridge.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Wairere Stream

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
At this point we might begin to realise that this part of the walk is not like a South Island Great Walk. The track can be narrow, not particularly well defined and it's muddy in places.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
The locals call this "The Ditch Track" and it's easy to see why. In wet weather, we could be walking in water that is knee deep.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
The mound on the left is Pukeonake, a low scoria cone. The mound on the right, just in front of the tall conical form of Mount Ngauruhoe is Pukekaikiore. That's where we're headed.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Now the track does its first stream crossing. This is no problem in good weather. Unlike all the other National Parks in New Zealand, it is NOT SAFE to drink the water in the streams here.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
During or soon after wet weather, this stream crossing could be challenging or even dangerous. If we're not sure it's safe to cross, we can wait until the water level drops sufficiently or head back to Whakapapa.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
At this point, the Whakapapa Track joins the Mangatepopo Track which is part of the Tongariro Crossing.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Mangatepopo Hut - 2 minutes, 150 metres.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
MANGATEPOPO HUT - Sleeps 20. Elevation 1190 metres. Flush toilets. Woodburner for heating. Camping area features 7 Tent Sites for up to 17 Campers. 3 hours 8.5 km walk from Whakapapa. 5 hours 12.8 km walk to Oturere Hut. SEASONAL RESTRICTIONS: In the Great Walks season (23 October 2015 - 30 April 2016) - Huts have gas cookers and resident wardens. Bookings are required.
Outside the Great Walks season (1 May 2017 - 19 October 2017) - There are no gas cookers or resident wardens. Bookings are not required - first come, first served.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
MANGATEPOPO HUT - Hiking huts are wonderful facilities and incredibly reasonably priced. Our hut and campsite fees pay for track maintenance and pest control as well as our accommodation. Those fees also pay to have gas and firewood helicoptered in and our toilet waste helicoptered out of this sacred (to local Maori) environment. We always pay our hut and camping fees and remember: It is OUR job (not the ranger's) to always leave the hut or campsite clean and tidy for the next people.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
MANGATEPOPO HUT - The West Bunkroom. When choosing a bunk, we always go for one next to a window if we can. That way we can have more say over how much ventilation we get.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
MANGATEPOPO HUT - The East Bunkroom. Bunkrooms are often very noisy places during the night and it is usually difficult to get much sleep. Sleeping bags for some cruel and twisted reason are made out of the noisiest material possible. DOC hut mattresses are covered in the second noisiest material possible. Ear plugs are a must. Ear putty is the best solution we have ever found for this problem. With ear putty we can sleep in a bunkroom easily. It's a miracle.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
MANGATEPOPO HUT

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Sunset in the Mangatepopo Valley.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Campers settling in for the night. After sunset it was warm and cosy in the hut (if a little noisy and crowded). Out in the campsite, it was all quiet apart from occasional laughter and the soothing moan of the icy wind.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
MANGATEPOPO HUT to OTURERE HUT - 5 hrs, 12.8 km. The day starts with an easy walk up the Mangatepopo Valley, then a 5 minute detour to Soda Springs. Then the track climbs The Devil's Staircase, crosses South Crater and climbs again to Red Crater, then descends steeply to Emerald Lakes. The next section descends more gently to Oturere Hut.
Map Data: Google, Digital Globe, Department of Conservation (DOC).

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
One last look back as we set off from Mangatepopo Hut.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
A couple of minutes later, the track rejoins the Tongariro Crossing track and we begin to see the first signs of the impending crowds of people (known to locals as "The Marching Ants") making their way up the Mangatepopo Valley.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
"Fragile Area - Please keep to track". They had to put that sign there to stop people from taking shortcuts - even though the track is clearly marked. Plants here grow incredibly slowly. Any damage we do by going off track will take ages to recover and possibly never will.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
The track is super easy up until those steps up ahead. Then it starts to climb. A tiny hint of what's to come...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
After that relatively small initial climb, the track goes along and very gently up the valley.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
At the head of the Mangatepopo Valley we find toilets and very important Safety Information for visitors going beyond this point. This is an alpine environment. There is almost no shelter. It is absolutely ESSENTIAL that walkers have enough food, water, warm clothing and sturdy, well-worn, comfortable hiking boots - and the skills to manage in the great outdoors.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Soda Springs. Beautiful... Smells like eggs.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Looking back towards the track. See the toilets on the far side of that gravel field..? We're going back there - and then we begin to climb The Devil's Staircase.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
STOP. Are we really properly prepared for this next part of the journey? It will probably be freezing cold at the top. If we are not fully prepared, we could get hypothermia - and possibly die. Unbelievably, most tourists ignore this sign and just walk on regardless.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
This is it... The beginning of The Devil's Staircase.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
A lot of work has been done on The Devil's Staircase. It used to be a lot rougher than the well-groomed path we get nowadays.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Up into the clouds... The temperature drops. There is no shelter up here. But the cold isn't the only hazard up here. This is an active volcano we're walking on...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Nearing the top of The Devil's Staircase.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
It is freezing cold up here. Below zero degrees Celsius with gale force winds. It is essential to have all the right clothing for survival in an alpine environment in case anything goes wrong. As one ranger on this track said, "I've been here and I've been kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park - and these are the same people - and they're wearing the SAME CLOTHES! It's out of control..."

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
A very small percentage of the people on this walk will now turn right and begin the steep and dangerous climb up Mount Ngauruhoe - because they are serious mountaineers, well prepared with all the weather information, skills, equipment, knowledge and passion required to enter this hazardous environment relatively safely and they fully understand all of the risks.

A much larger and vastly less well prepared percentage of the people on this walk will also now turn right and begin the steep and dangerous climb up Mount Ngauruhoe (or as they call it, "Mount Doom") - because they want to throw a ring into the volcano.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Is this a seasoned mountaineer, fully equipped for an alpine traverse - or someone who just watched a fantasy film once..? To give an idea of how bad an idea it is to just casually climb Mount Ngauruhoe as a fantasy-movie-based tourist experience, the local climbing experts won't go up there without a helmet - but more importantly they won't go up there without a very good reason.

Basically, the experts won't go up Mt Ngauruhoe
except to try and rescue someone who was stupid enough to go up there unprepared or at the wrong time.

A ranger told us that sometimes there were over 1000 people climbing on Mount Ngauruhoe in a single day - most of them seriously underprepared. He said, "The only reason we don't have more people dying up there is because there are so many people up there to help them. One day there's going to be a weather bomb - and we're going to have a major disaster on our hands..."

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Moving away from the madness of the Mount Doom people, we come to the huge flat expanse of the South Crater.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
And suddenly the cloud lifts - and it's a beautiful day. We can walk straight ahead - or take a detour to the right to see what's over that rise...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Okay... Now for the steepest part. The climb to the edge of Red Crater.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
That's a big drop-off where that guy's standing.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Gorgeous...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
The view from further round and higher up.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Looking back down into South Crater. Mount Ngauruhoe is sporadically visible through the clouds.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
The turnoff for the poled route to the summit of Mount Tongariro - a 2 hour return trip that should only be undertaken in clear weather.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Now the final climb begins to the edge and then to the summit of the spectacular Red Crater.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Looking down into the red crater - an awe-inspiring place...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Looking up towards the summit.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Crossing the highest point of our traverse.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Some future leaders. These students had conquered the climb and were happily sitting on the summit, chatting with passers-by.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Blue Lake in the distance.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Looking down on the Emerald Lakes.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Making our way down the scree slope from the summit of our traverse is one of the trickiest parts of this walk. Lots of tourists struggle with this bit and have to be helped down the hill. Not because this part of the walk is actually all that hard - it's just so different to anything they are used to.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
The Emerald Lakes. Man, it smells so much like eggs here...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
The turnoff to Oturere Hut and the rest of the Tongariro Northern Circuit. Here, the Marching Ants carry on straight ahead to complete the second half of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. We turn right at this point and head off into peace and quiet.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
See how clear and beautiful a day it was on the day these photos were taken..? The next day it was so cloudy, the next lot of walkers didn't see the Emerald Lakes at all! They weren't very happy...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
This next part of the walk is all about climbing down to those expansive plains below.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Phew! Made it down to the bottom.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
But there's still quite a long way to go...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Thank goodness... Oturere Hut.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
OTURERE HUT - Sleeps 26. Elevation 1360 metres. Woodburner for heating. Flush toilets. Camping area features 7 Tent Sites for up to 14 Campers. 5 hours 12.8 km walk from Mangatepopo Hut. 3 hours 7.5 km walk to Waihohonu Hut. SEASONAL RESTRICTIONS: In the Great Walks season (23 October 2015 - 30 April 2016) - Huts have gas cookers and resident wardens. Bookings are required.
Outside the Great Walks season (1 May 2017 - 19 October 2017) - There are no gas cookers or resident wardens. Bookings are not required - first come, first served.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Inside Oturere Hut. There are two small bunkrooms to the left of this main dining / cooking / bunkroom.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Oturere Hut. In the foreground is part of the camping area.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
This gorgeous waterfall view is just a couple of minutes stroll from Oturere Hut. And as we sit and admire this view, we phone home - because there is cellphone reception here. Niiice...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park101
Oturere Hut. The fanciest DOC sign we've seen yet...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
OTURERE HUT to WAIHOHONU HUT - Easy 3 hrs, 5 km.
Map Data: Google, Digital Globe, Department of Conservation (DOC).

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
One last look back at Oturere Hut before we head off to the big flash new Waihohonu Hut. A storm is brewing and we'd rather wait it out in a big new hut than in a small old hut with a school group arriving soon...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
The track is fairly easy. Just look for the poles - and follow them...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
This is the first stream crossing. It could be a concern in wet weather.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Up and over and down and up and over is pretty much the order of the day.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Up and over this bit...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
...And down into this valley which looks almost identical to the previous valley.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Basically we walk to the horizon...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
...And then to the next horizon.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
...And the next.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
And so on...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
This is the other stream crossing that could cause problems in wet weather.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park116
And then we walk up to the top of this ridgeline and we see...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
...Forest! There - in the distance. Haven't seen much of that lately. But first we have to walk quite a long way along this ridgeline. It's so easy walking here in good weather. It'd be very different in a storm because there is no shelter - and according to the DOC weather forecast, there is a storm on its way...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Now the track leads over the edge of the ridgeline and we head down towards the forest.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Here we are looking back up the track to the ridgeline we were walking on...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
...And, turning around, this is where the track enters the forest.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
And now we cross the Waihohonu Stream...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
...And begin the climb up to Waihohonu Hut.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
WAIHOHONU HUT - Sleeps 28. Elevation 1150 metres. Built in 2010. Flush toilets. Camping area features 7 Tent Sites for up to 12 Campers. 3 hours 7.5 km walk from Oturere Hut. 5 hours 14.3 km walk to Whakapapa.
SEASONAL RESTRICTIONS: In the Great Walks season (23 October 2015 - 30 April 2016) - Huts have gas cookers and resident wardens. Bookings are required.
Outside the Great Walks season (1 May 2017 - 19 October 2017) - There are no gas cookers or resident wardens. Bookings are not required - first come, first served.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
WAIHOHONU HUT - Entrance Foyer.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
WAIHOHONU HUT - Outside Sink Bench and view into Upper Bunkroom.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
WAIHOHONU HUT - Upper Bunkroom.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
WAIHOHONU HUT - Entrance Foyer, looking back towards the entrance/exit door (to the left of the window).

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
WAIHOHONU HUT - Dining / Kitchen Area.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
WAIHOHONU HUT - Dining / Kitchen Area (looking back towards door leading to Entrance Foyer).

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
WAIHOHONU HUT - One of the two Kitchen Areas and Woodburner for heating the hut.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
WAIHOHONU HUT - Dining / Kitchen Area.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
WAIHOHONU HUT - Middle Bunkroom and Lower Bunkroom.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
WAIHOHONU HUT - Lower Bunkroom and view through Middle Bunkroom to Dining / Kitchen Area.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
WAIHOHONU HUT - Deck outside Lower Bunkroom.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
WAIHOHONU HUT - View from Deck outside Lower Bunkroom towards Toilets (left).

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
WAIHOHONU HUT - Deck outside Lower Bunkroom.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
WAIHOHONU HUT - View from Outside Sink Bench towards Toilets.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
WAIHOHONU HUT - Looking back from the top of the steps up to the low plateau next to the hut.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
WAIHOHONU HUT TO WHAKAPAPA VILLAGE - Easy 5 hours, 14.3 km.
Map Data: Google, Digital Globe, Department of Conservation (DOC).

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

HISTORIC WAIHOHONU HUT - Tongariro National Park
Leaving Waihohonu Hut the track climbs a few metres to a plateau above the hut.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

HISTORIC WAIHOHONU HUT - Tongariro National Park
When we reach the far side of the plateau a minute later, we find this slight mound on the left of the track. When we stand there, we get the best 027 cellphone reception.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Five minutes walk from Waihohonu Hut is this turnoff which leads to Historic Waihohonu Hut - the oldest existing mountain hut in New Zealand.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
HISTORIC WAIHOHONU HUT - Built in 1904, this two room hut uses pumice stone as insulation between sheets of corrugated iron.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
HISTORIC WAIHOHONU HUT

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

HISTORIC WAIHOHONU HUT - Tongariro National Park
This, the larger and more impressive of the two rooms is the room the men slept in.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

HISTORIC WAIHOHONU HUT - Tongariro National Park
Behind the glass on the left is the old fireplace. This hut hasn't been used for accommodation since 1968.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

HISTORIC WAIHOHONU HUT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

HISTORIC WAIHOHONU HUT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

HISTORIC WAIHOHONU HUT - Tongariro National Park
This is the Ladies' Quarters. It has no heating.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

HISTORIC WAIHOHONU HUT - Tongariro National Park
Apparently the ladies asked to have a fireplace for their room but the Tourist and Health Resorts Department said no. After long negotiations about the ladies' fireplace, the department relented slightly and let them have a mirror instead.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Returning now to the main track, we continue on our journey to Whakapapa Village.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
The weather is starting to come in. A light rain develops.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
Just like the day before... Find the marker poles and follow them. That could get tricky if visibility was low.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
The track is mostly very easy to follow.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
There are no tricky river crossings on this day's walk.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
At this point, the weather became much worse. The rain got heavier and visibility was greatly reduced. I put my camera in a waterproof bag and tucked it into the top of my pack...

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
The next day was beautiful and sunny - so we came back. This is the intersection where we would turn off to the right if we were going to Tama Lakes - but we will continue on the path to the left, which will take us back to Whakapapa Village.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park
And here we are back at the end of Ngauruhoe Place in Whakapapa Village. Time for a shower, a nice meal and a beer.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

TONGARIRO NORTHERN CIRCUIT - Tongariro National Park