Tongariro National Park is the oldest national park in the North Island of New Zealand, which was formed in the year 1894. The national park has active volcanic mountains – Mount Ruapehu (2797 meters), Mount Ngauruhoe (2291 meters) and Mount Tongariro (1968 meters).
The Tangariro National Park is home for the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a one day walk in the national park. The national park also has some of the other beautiful one day walks – to name a few Mount Ngauruhoe summit climb, Mount Ruapehu crater climb, and many more. Complete list of walks can be found on New Zealand’s Department of Conservation website.
The walk that my friend Akshatha and I did was the Tama Lakes Walk, as we had run out of time to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. It is a 6 hours return walk with the medium difficulty level. The end points of the walk are the Lower Tama Lake and the Upper Tama Lake.
Tip: Even in summers, ensure you carry a heavy warm jacket as it can get chilly and windy.
There are two paths to reach the lakes – first is through the volcanic rocks unformed path and the second is through the waterfalls. We decided to take the first path. The walk is through the rugged terrains of the national park with volcanic rocks and small streams of water.
The views that the walk provides is something to die for. We took lots and lots of pictures of the two volcanic mountains – Mount Ruapehu and Mount Ngauruhoe.
Tip: Ensure you carry lunch as the walk requires one whole day. My friend Akshatha is a very good hiker and she suggested that carrying boiled eggs are a good option.
After about 3 hours, we reached the Lower Tama Lake and the effort of the walk totally paid off. The views of the lake was so refreshing and beautiful.
We then decided to head to the Upper Tama Lake. The walk to the lake was steep and was on the loose gravel mud path, which makes it slippery and difficult. And as people had mentioned to us, Upper Tama Lake was even more spectacular than the Lower Tama Lake.
Since it was getting dark, we decided to head back but the return route that we took was through the waterfalls. The path had few steps and mostly in the bushes.
The sunset along the way was very pretty and colorful. The last 30 minutes of our walk was the highlight of our walk – we walked under the Milky Way and that was the memorable moment of my day.
Tip: Ensure the hiking shoes that you wear are strong and durable, the path is muddy, slippery and wet.
In a nutshell, this is one of the best and beautiful walks I have ever done. The hike with mind-boggling and astounding views of the volcanic mountains are something that should be on every hiker’s bucket list. I would definitely go back to the national park, but this time to complete the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.