Tongariro National Park, North Island is New Zealand's oldest national park. It is the home of volcanic peaks of Ngauruhoe, Tongariro and Ruapehu. It is beautiful, spectacular, majestic and unique. I could say that for every national park in New Zealand but this one is special. It has a unique mixture of different landscapes and landforms. And this is where you can experience all these different forms while hiking 19.4 km (12 miles) on Tongariro Alpine Crossing - New Zealand's best day hike. We both are so proud that we did it a week ago!! Yes, it was a long day, yes it took us seven hours to finish it and yes our feet were sore for next two days....but it was ALL worth it! It is the hardest hike we have done so far....we climbed up 800m (2,600 ft) in elevation. We were out of breath after probably twenty steps we climbed, but again, ALL worth it :)
Our mother earth is mysterious....after all, as humans, can you imagine creating so many microclimates in a stretch of 20 km (and no, I do not mean in a laboratory)! You start with barren land covered with volcanic ash and rocks....bare minimum landscape....you walk a few kilometers and there it is - a snow covered mountain standing right behind, staring at you. Slowly as you climb up and come across a narrow stream of water with lush green plants next to it. You walk further and you see a really high hill with rocks and sandy soil that you have to cross next. You think in your head....are you serious! You somehow manage to cross it and the view that you witness is mindblowing! You walk more and more and you end up in a rainforest! Every step you take, every view you see is different than the previous one. Craters, lakes, snow, huge trees, little plants, uphill, downhill, it is a constant roller coaster! We both were amazed and just out of words to experience it all.