Nomadic New Zealand Day 5 Blog - Tongariro Alpine Crossing

So the day had come. Just like Frodo and Sam before us, we had made our way to Mordor and the shadow of Mount Doom. Luckily for us the fate of world didn’t rely on us. But we were still taking this trip very seriously. It needed to be respected. The fact was it was still classified as a winter trek due to the snow conditions, therefore we needed to hire a guide. Stewart was our man. He sorted us out in the morning with all our ice picks and crampons and bit and bobs. Most of us came prepared with pretty quality hiking boots and clothing. Well, all except Trent who rocked up to Tongariro with a pair of Nike Frees on his feet. So after we were kitted out we jumped back into the van and were lead by Wilbur up to the start of the crossing.


Once we stepped foot outside the the air hit us. It was a slap in the face from a white walker. The temperature outside was around the 8 degrees Celsius range. We were then informed that with the predicted 50-75km winds we would be walking through sub zero temperature. So we rugged ourselves up (all except Damo who decided shorts and a tee shirt would be enough for the start of his trek) and got underway. The terrain to begin the track was pretty unreal. Volcanic landscape all around with the odd sprinkle of snow. The farther we went on the more that snow kicked in. It was a really beautiful site.


Stu pulled us over at this point to give us the rundown on safety and how to use our ice pick should we need it. Like I said earlier, this hike was a serious expedition. After our fall training session we began the real stuff. Step after step after step of steep incline. Just as we’d been told, the howling winds and sub zero temperatures had well and truly kicked in. Looking off to the right was a sheer drop that you wouldn’t recover from, looking back and to the left and you will see the half volcanic, half snowed over conditions we had just trekked through. A couple of hours in and we were taking regular stops to reinforce our clothing. Extra layer after extra layer until we had everything we owned on. The wind was howling. We trekked and trudged through the ice and snow like a well oiled, albeit slow moving machine. The quads were burning, lungs working overtime and the pshyche was getting a good test out. It really was tough going.

As we reached the highest and hardest point and the ground started to flatten off and the landscape changed. At this point we looked around and it was clear to see that some of us weren’t exactly sure what we’d gotten ourselves in for. There was even a tear of two at the top.


Stu then led us down for a well deserved lunch. Sitting down letting the rocks heat our bottoms and taking in the vistas and landscapes as the clouds rolled in and out. Then the sun started to break through. After lunch and a few photos Stu walked us over to the steepest part of the descent. Fully snowed over, we were looking down on what seemed something like a 45 degree slope. Then Stu informed us that the fastest way down was to bum slide. It was at least 100 metres in length. I think we all thought Stu was taking the piss out of us. We soon realized though that he wasn’t. Chris jumped at the opportunity to lead us off. But down, feet up, 3-2-1 go! And he was away. Flying down the mountain literally by the seat of his pants was a sight to see. Then the next AdventureFitter lined up, and the next and the next. It was seriously the most fun we’d had the while trip. We were like little kids. Trent provided the biggest highlight though. One of the last to come down the hill he had the whole crowd filming and watching him, cheering him along. Trent was looking pretty boss for the first 70 metres or so, then something went awry. Suddenly Trent had lost control. He started spinning a bit, then more, then more again until he was actually flying down the mountain at a million miles an hour basically looking like he was breakdancing all the way down. Legs and arms flying everywhere, snow expldoing up everywhere as Trent lost the track. The crowd were in hysterics. Luckily he survived without a scratch. His GoPro (which captured the whole thing) unfortunately wasn’t so lucky. Awesome stuff Trenna. Massive highlight for sure.




So after we gathered our composure we began to cover a huge open expanse of snow that went forever. The scenery was beautiful. The sun was now out, the wind had dropped and our spirits were super high. Nothing like a bit of old school snow bum slide racing to pick the spirits up.


So on we went, bit by bit, up and down in and out. The clouds have broken and it had turned into a perfect day. And we were in the perfect location. At this point the walk became easier and the AdventureFitters were all pairing off and getting some deep and meaningful time together. It was a great bonding session for the group. A few more epic bumslide tracks and we were basically done. We had crossed the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, scenery unlike any we’d ever seen.


At the bottom we had the bus waiting for us. We sat, took all we’d just accomplished in one last time and then headed back to camp.



Bill, otherwise known as ‘Doc’ is the founding father of AdventureFit Travel. An avid traveller/backpacker Doc spends more time with a backpack on his back than your average primary school student. Across his travels Doc encountered many adventures. From swimming with sharks, patting lions, riding elephants and running with bulls. He has visited 5 continents on his quest for adventure and plans to visit more with his AdventureFit family.

Not only is Doc passionate about lust for adventure but he is also an avid fitness enthusiast. Working in the CrossFit industry has shown him... Read more.