A hike through Mordor

Hike through Mordor - the Tama Lakes at Tongariro National Park NZ | Baking Avenue
Hike through Mordor - the Tama Lakes at Tongariro National Park NZ | Baking Avenue
Hike through Mordor - the Tama Lakes at Tongariro National Park NZ | Baking Avenue

I’m a big fan of „The Lord of the Rings“. So it was sure for me to visit sundry shooting locations of the famous trilogy during my trip through New Zealand. I already wrote about some locations last year, but only in short form. You can find the post HERE. 🙂 But today I want to bring a very special place closer to you.

 

Tongariro National Park - New Zealand

 

One does not simply walk into Mordor

When you know the films (I unfortunately can’t say for sure if this quote appears in the books as well) you definitely know this quote of Boromir. Relatively close to the beginning we hear that sentence from Boromir, where they try to find the one person in Rivendell who brings the ring to Mordor.

We all know how the film ends. Also, how hard the march to Mordor was. In real life it’s fortunately a little more easy to reach Mordor and Mount Doom. But only a little.

 

Lower Tama Lake, Tongariro National Park - New Zealand

Tongariro National Park - New Zealand

 

Mount Ngauruhoe – the Mount Doom

New Zealand definitely is one of the countries which you should visit as an enthusiastic hiker. Here you have plenty of hiking tracks in breathtaking backdrop. But even though when you’re a newcomer when it comes to hiking, just like me, you can find plenty of tracks.

Just like in Tongariro National Park on the North Island of New Zealand. Among others you can find shooting locations of Mordor here and in this National Park is the home of Mount Ngauruhoe – the Mount Doom. The mountain is located very central in the National Park, is actually a volcano and is about 2,200 meters high. The vulcano isn’t considered to be active anymore and erupted in 1977 the last time. But some earthquakes in the past raised the alert level. But since 2015 the alert level is consistently on 0.

 

Mount Ngauruhoe, Tongariro National Park - New Zealand

 

Of New Zealand hiking tracks and their pitfalls

Who wants to tramp in Mordor resp. in the Tongariro National Park should definitely choose Whakapapa Village as your starting point. Many hiking tracks start here, including the famous Alpine Crossing. We first thought about booking this hike and join a group. But for one the weather was too bad the days before, so they precautionally cancelled all booked tours, on the other hand this track is extremely demanding, so you should only go on this hike when you’re an experienced hiker. Some short facts about the Alpine Crossing: 19.4 km (one way), you’ll need about 7-8 hours and it directly goes past the Mount Ngauruhoe. Scenically this track has to be an amazing highlight, but like I said: Only go on this hike when you already have experience. HERE you can find some more information about the track, some security advices (e.g. if there is a alert for the track) and some packing advices.

 

Taranaki Falls, Tongariro National Park - New Zealand

 

Instead we decided us for the Tama Lakes track, because on this track you also have a great view to the vulcano (if it isn’t covered in clouds) and insights into a Mordor, which is peaceful and beautiful. The short facts about the track are: 17 km (return), 5-6 hours (we needed about 7) and among others you cross the Taranaki Falls.

This track isn’t easy, but still suitable for newcomers. You maybe just need a little longer. 🙂 You definitely should prepare yourself for some obstacles which may encounter you on your way tot he Tama Lakes. Steps, which are very hard for small people (like me), snow (depending on the season) or maybe rivers which need to be crossed.

 

Tongariro National Park - New Zealand

Tongariro National Park - New Zealand

 

We often had the feeling, that the New Zealand hiking tracks would never get that classification in Germany. 😀 But I guess the New Zealander is just more realxed when it comes to this kind of topics. The hardest obstacle for us was a river which flooded the track. Probably the river swelled because of the thawing snow in the mountains and therefore was wider and deeper than usual. Anyway, there wasn’t a bridge, no other way or an easy method to cross the river. Turning around wasn’t an option after we already hiked for about 3 hours. So there was only one option left: Take off shoes and socks, pull up the pants and straight through the river. Admittedly, our feet nearly freeze off and the water was nearly up to our knees, but it was worth it.

 

Tongariro National Park - New Zealand

 

The weaker self

My weaker self is one of the bigger ones, but on this hike I definitely overcame it the one or other time. Be it the river (twice :D), the partly intense incline or just the 17 km by feet. Personally for me was each part of it very extreme and I came out of my comfort zone. And it just felt good. 🙂

 

Tongariro National Park - New Zealand

 

As a reward we got that great view onto the Lower Tama Lake. I never saw such an incredible color on a lake before. Thereto the mountain panorama, the snow and the sun. It was splendid. We continued our way to the Upper Tama Lake, but I needed to stop at half of the way because I simply didn’t kept up, but Marlena made it to the top. The track wasn’t a real way anymore, but more like slip rock. And my legs just bailed out of it. 😀

The view onto Mount Doom unfortunately was refused for us because of the clouds. But shortly before he disappeared from our visual field on our way back he showed himself in his snow covered glory. 😉

 

Mount Ngauruhoe, Tongariro National Park - New Zealand

 

So if you’re someday around here and you don’t dare to tramp the Alpine Crossing or if there are no tours offered because of the weather, definitely tramp the track to the Tama Lakes. I’m still excited when I think about this experience, even more than one year later. And the photos speak for themselves, right? 😉

HERE you find an overview of all tracks which start at Whakapapa Village.

 

Are you a hiker or want to become one? Which was your favorite hiking track yet? 🙂

 

Lower Tama Lake, Tongariro National Park - New Zealand

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