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Discussion: Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

in: Middle Earth Championships (Apr 19–20, 2017 - Rotorua, NZ)

Oct 24, 2016 12:43 AM # 
Prior to the Middle Earth Middle and Sprint in NZ, we'd like to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Are there any kiwis on AP who have hiked that and can advise on accommodation suggestions for the night prior to the hike?
Oct 24, 2016 12:18 PM # 
Not a kiwi, but I've stayed at Howards Lodge , which includes shuttles to and from the start and finish of the trek. I'd recommend it.
Oct 24, 2016 7:24 PM # 
The owners of the lodge that we stayed at advised us not to do the crossing in our orienteering shoes.
The o-shoes worked well.
Oct 25, 2016 4:53 AM # 
Budget option could be Tongariro Holiday Park - we camped there last summer before doing the crossing. Pretty sure a shuttle can be arranged there too (we had two cars so did not worry about that). Unless snowy, normal trail running shoes are enough.
Oct 25, 2016 9:40 AM # 
Nick Harris:
The Tongariro Crossing is a superb walk. Definitely worth the effort IMO.

If you're in the National Park/Whakapapa Village area pretty much every commercial accommodation will organise a shuttle to/from the Tongariro Crossing. There are plenty of good options (but I don't have a particular recommendation). The logistics are slightly more awkward but, you might enjoy staying at Mangatepopo Hut, right at the start of the trail?

Whatever footwear you choose, please don't skimp on the thermals and raincoat / overtrousers. The weather up there is highly changeable and can turn from beautiful to dangerous alarmingly quickly. No problem if you have the gear...
Oct 25, 2016 12:59 PM # 
I would recommend actually hiking up to the top of the mountain ("Mt Doom"), not just the crossing. We did this as an out & back a few years ago.
Oct 25, 2016 5:46 PM # 
Sounds like an interesting option.
Oct 25, 2016 5:49 PM # 
AP comes through, as usual. Thanks for all the suggestions.
Oct 25, 2016 6:52 PM # 
It was eventually very windy on the starting side on our crossing in 2014 (and practically calm once past the high point). There was one memorable fellow in flip flops and a few others in shorts & T shirts as wind demanded sheltering. As it says above, not a problem if properly prepared. Second the definitely worth it comment. Looking back to the high point.
Oct 26, 2016 1:12 AM # 
Never leave home without all of that gear! O events have been known to be very wet and cold even in spring/summer. See you at some of the pre-events or the WMG, Nick?
Oct 29, 2016 3:26 AM # 
Good luck with the walk! On our attempt we only got as far as the Mangatepopo Hut before having to turn back. We had good gear, but it wasn't worth continuing as we wouldn't have seen anything anyway in the conditions with rain, high winds, low cloud and low temperature - and that was in January (2015)! Hope April will be better for you, but be prepared for disappointment.

After warming up back at the car park cafe, we walked up to the Mangawhero Falls where the waterfall scene with Frodo and Sam in Lord of the Rings was filmed, so the visit wasn't a total disappointment.

For 2017 we are going to the South Island before the Oceania Champs to walk the Milford and Routeburn tracks, and crossing our fingers for reasonable weather.
Oct 30, 2016 5:42 AM # 
There were also a fun hot stream flowing into cold river just north of there. The NZ Frenzy guidebooks are good for finding off the beaten path fun (quirky books, but super useful).
Oct 31, 2016 8:09 PM # 
Nick Harris:
@mellis - yes, I'll be at all the Oceania & WMG events. Entry numbers are looking really good so its going to be a great couple of weeks of O!

If the weather on top is too awful, there are other walks in the area to consider as alternative. Shorter, but in crappy weather thats not always a bad thing. Taranaki Falls Track, Silica Rapids, Lake Rotopounamu - are all close by and each has its charms. And yup, also lots of geothermal activity in the region, so not hard to find a hot pool. Pretty popular as a plan B when the weather is foul!
Nov 1, 2016 12:29 AM # 
We've also got our sights on Tongariro, but for the week in between Oceania and WMOC (either the Tuesday or the Friday depending on the forecast).
Nov 2, 2016 10:09 PM # 
@blairtrewin. We're thinking of the Monday of the Oceania Middle.
Nov 2, 2016 10:14 PM # 
@simmo - thanks for the recap of your hike. We've been given lots of fun alternatives to the trek so we'll take what comes! We did the Routeburn track when we were last in NZ for "the first O event of the millenium"! Loved it.
Nov 2, 2016 10:18 PM # 
@Nick Harris - What kind of numbers were you expecting for the Oceania & WMG events. We're used to getting lists of registrants for the WMOC's as people register - looking for familiar names is fun - but I guess that information will come later for the MWG. Thanks for the alternative suggestions.
@Suzanne - seems to me the last time we were at a hot springs in NZ it was raining ;-).
Nov 3, 2016 9:47 AM # 
Nick Harris:
@mellis - we've targeted 1000 competitors at WMG, slightly less for Oceania. We've passed 80% of the WMG target and blitzed the Oceania target. These numbers are not exactly Scandinavian in scale, but could still the biggest orienteering events ever hosted in NZ!
Nov 3, 2016 10:06 PM # 
@Nick Harris - could still the biggest orienteering events ever hosted in NZ!
Excellent! Looking forward to being part of NZ O history ;-)
Nov 4, 2016 3:28 AM # 
Didn't stay there, but the holiday park looked nice enough. If you don't mind carrying a sleeping bag and some dinner in the Mangatepopo Hut is also an option (though more expensive and harder to reserve). Staying two nights this could even act as a "base camp" which gives you a better chance at getting an early start and beating the crowds (this is a VERY popular hike) and also prevents the need of worry about a shuttle. As others have said well worth the effort, and I too enjoyed the climb to the top of Ngauruhoe (Mt. Doom).

This discussion thread is closed.