The Tongariro Northern Circuit is a three-day circuit in the Tongariro National Park, one of the Great Walks of New Zealand, of which the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is part the first day when starting from Mangantepopo car park. There is no doubt that the first days walk, essentially the Tongariro Alpine Crossing ascending to the Red Crater next to Mt Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom), then descending next to emerald-blue lakes while steam emerges from the ground is spectacular and the highlight of the Circuit. The remainder of the circuit continues through the barren, desert-like landshape circling Mount Ngauruhoe. An optional sidetrip, which I, due to a flat tire, arrived too late in day to take is the summit climb of Ngauruhoe.
The Red Crater; The emerald lakes; walking through lava-sculpted landshapes.
Itinerary, Tongariro Northern Circuit, camping, January 2016:
Mangantepopo car park-Oturere Hut-Whakapapa village-Mangantepopo car park.
Information, bookings (all accomodation incl. tent spaces must be booked in advance) and maps: DOC (Department of Conservation).