In contrast to the other two active volcanoes in the Tongariro National Park,
Mt. Ngauruhoe is a conical, single vent volcano with perfectly symmetrical slopes.
The other two, Mt. Tongariro and Mt. Ruapehu, have multiple vents.
Mt. Ngauruhoe looks like a stereotypical volcano and the reason why it was chosen to star as Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings.
There are many photo ops along the way through the park.
We stopped along the road to get a few shots of Mt. Ngauruhoe as the clouds constantly changed in a short period of time.
(Karen from Adelaide, Australia)
Leon and Karen (Adelaide, Australia)
We moved on to get views of Mt. Ruapehu, the southernmost of the three and the one showing signs of erupting in the near future. But, ironically, Mt. Tongariro has erupted twice in the last 3 months with no advance signs of possible activity at all...the first in August and the second, November 21, 2012 (two days before this day).
It was windy and cold and the cloud movement was spectacular!
There are an abundance of hiking trails (the Alpine Crossing) that circumnavigates Ngauruhoe and affords spectacular views all around, particularly of Mt. Tongariro.The safest and most popular time to walk the track is from December to March. The winter months become a tough alpine trek requiring ice axes and crampons and a need to factor in extra walking time, or not attempt it at all.
We continued south on the Desert Road (Hwy 1), a typical single lane highway in New Zealand.
Tongariro National Park,
November 23 2012