Mount Ngauruhoe, at 2287m, (Mount Doom in Lord of the RIngs) is one of three majestic, active volcanic mountains at Tongariro National Park, the oldest NP in New Zealand. Mount Ruapehu at 2797m and Mount Tongariro at 1967m are the other two. The three mountains are an impressive sight. Mount Tongariro was smoking when we visited. The lake on the top of Mount Ruapehu we were told was cooling and causing a bit of a stir as it should have been heating-up. Mount Ngauruhoe was a typical volcanic cone. We walked the 6k loop from Whakapapa Village, where there is a brilliant information centre, between Mounts Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu to Taranaki Falls, where the falls plunge 20m into a boulder-ringed pool. There were people absailing down the side of the falls. Most enjoyable walk in beautiful weather with good views of the mountains. There were lots of other fine walks available in the area, including the famous Tongariro Crossing rated as the best one-day tramp in New Zealand. This walk was closed on the day we visited as there was some problem along the route. There had been a 5.8 earthquake at some point miles below the surface at the Tongariro NP just a few days before we arrived which had been of no consequence due to its depth. It had been felt on South Island but we had not noticed it!
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