Heading back down from Snowdon’s Summit. This was the landscape we had walked up through and were about to walk back down. Glaslyn (Welsh for Blue Lake) is in the middle of the image. The much larger lake in the background in Llyn Llydaw (from the Welsh meaning Brittany lake). In framing this photograph I was keen to include the path we were walking along. Coming into left side of the picture is the Pyg Track which continues all the way to the other side of Llyn Llydaw. You can see the Miners Track which breaks off and goes right down to the lake side of both of these natural lakes.
This view shows what I believe is called the Ketetahi Hot Springs Stream. It’s taken about 400-500 metres down stream from the hot springs which are privately owned by the local iwi Tuwharetoa and have been out of bounds since the 1990s when a tourist was scaled to death in the springs. Obviously I wasn’t going to put my hand down into this stream, though I’m sure it would be a lot cooler being a few hundred metres down stream. Seeing this view and how the sunlight was hitting the landscape I had to stop and take out my camera.
The contrast in the light between the foreground and background is great, it is very typical of a New Zealand landscape. Getting low to the water (but not too close) I was able to frame the stream coming into shot from the right and running off down towards Lake Rotoaira and further in the distance the huge Lake Taupo, which almost looks like it could be the sea. I haven’t yet had a chance to explore the smaller Lake Rotoaira but from here the Tongariro crossing, this is the last part of the crossing and it is around another 5 or 6 kilometres walk down to the Ketetahi carpark which marks the end of the hike.
Stood at the summit of the Red Crater I was amazed by the view looking down on the Emerald Lakes. Looking around there were many other possibilities for photographs that I could take. From the Emerald Lakes, looking to the left I could see in the distance, the huge blue lake through the steam. Zooming in I captured this view. This is the Blue Lake on the Tongariro Crossing. You can see the summit of Rotopaunga behind the lake and the Central Crater in the foreground. The lake is much higher than the crater, around 100 metres difference in height. Looking closely along the near side shore of the lake there are dozens of people hiking along the water. Sadly due to the distance and steam there is very little colour in this photograph and the lake doesn’t appear blue, in fact this photograph could almost be black and white. Only close up can you really see how clear and blue the water is.
Looking down on the Emerald Lakes from the summit of the Red Crater is one of the highlights of hiking the Tongariro Crossing. These lakes are filled explosion craters, the bright colours are partly caused by the dissolved minerals washed down from the thermal area around them. The steam shows how active this volcanic region is. At times the steam is so active you can’t see the lakes from the summit. The summit of the Red Crater is the highest point of the hike at 1886 metres (6188 ft). On the left in the foreground you can see a few hikers walking down the volcanic scree. If you look closely to the left of the lakes are dozens of other people. The crossing is a day hike of 19.4km (or 12.1 miles). This active volcanic region is the Tongariro National Park in the central North Island and is New Zealand’s oldest national park.