Continuing on with our Lord of The Rings circuit, we stopped by the Tongariro National Park for a hike. The most well known hiking trail in the park is the point to point 12-mile Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Unfortunately, the steep decent down gravel was not a good option for Joe’s ankles, so I mapped out the trail to the Taranaki Falls, and possibly further on to the Lower Tama Lake depending upon how he feels. It wasn’t clear to me the exact distance of the trails as that information wasn’t widely available online. I figured we’d find out when we get to the trailhead.
The first hour of hiking (1.8 miles per our calculations) up to the Taranaki Falls was mostly covered.
Perhaps due to altitude, both of us felt a little tired at this point, and debated about whether we should turn back or push forward. Luckily Joe was open to hike a little more.
By the time we got back to our car 5 hours later, we had covered 11 miles, one mile short of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Despite not hiking the alpine crossing, I was pretty satisfied with this trail, as it brought us through diverse landscapes, from forest to brush land, and then through volcanic terrain. Before leaving the park, I had one more place to check out.