We knew we would not do the full crossing but were still hoping to make it to the summit. We were picked up in Taupo and drove to Mangatepopo car park. We headed off on our hike to the South Crater. There was a good amount of steps and some climbing involved. When we got to a clearing, we could finally see Mt. Ngauruhoe towering before us in all its glory. There was a good amount of snow on the mountain so we were not able to climb to the top. Instead, we opted to summit the Tongariro Crossing. But, we weren’t able to make it that far. We attempted to make it up there but there was just too much ice packed on the ground. It was risky to even try in the beginning, but we took that risk and turned back.
Heading back down, we saw the most incredible sunset and crater. Both were stunning to see at once. I liked how we could see the different shades of the sky. It only further confirms the sky is just not blue, but different gradients of the earth. When we finally got back to the car it was dark and cold. Everyone was tired but I knew they felt a great sense of accomplishment.
For my first hike in New Zealand, the Tongariro Crossing has set the bar very high for future hikes. Thus ended one of the best weekends of my life. I literally traveled through highs and lows and experienced the full spectrum of what New Zealand had to offer.