National Park Hostel,
Tongariro Crossing New Zealand
The National Park Hostel was a great facility. It was unique in the way it was designed and it had a lot of charm. One of the coolest things that the hostel featured was an indoor climbing facility. So on days that the weather didn’t co-operate, which I guess was a frequent occurrence, the guests had something else to do. Being that it was the off-season and the hostel was not very busy, there were no staff to run the climbing, but during the busy season, they run every day. The bunks were comfortable and large with decent space in the room so you weren’t climbing over someone else’s luggage to get around. They offered mixed dorms as well as private rooms, smaller dorm rooms and tent camping in the summer. The kitchen was clean an had all the amenities with both indoor and outdoor dining areas. For understandable reasons they do not offer refunds on any unused nights of stay or cancellations. So keep that in mind when booking. Also the bus systems in the off season don’t run to National Park as frequently as they do other locations, so allow yourself a few days to spend in National Park. The staff were very friendly and have all the knowledge and information necessary for you to be able to enjoy one of New Zealand’s most epic hikes safely.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is described as one of the best one-day hikes New Zealand has to offer. Everywhere I had been so far, people were talking about it.Saying it was the hike that I had to do. So I fit it into my plans on my way to Rotorua. The town that the trail head starts from is called National Park. It was difficult to get to as it was basically a very small town in the wrong direction from anything. I arrived in mid-afternoon and the weather was terrible. Rain and Fog. Doing an alpine hike during rain and fog can be dangerous and the hiking trail is closed on a regular basis due to weather for this reason. I had planned to hike to following day, and the trail was scheduled to be open, but i was still reluctant. I spent the rest of that afternoon speaking with other hikers in the hostel that had been up to the crossing today to find out what the conditions and visibility were like. The general response that I got was that the hike was very difficult and the visibility was shit, so it really wasn’t worth it. I decided to sleep on it, get up early and check the weather before I decide. When I woke up, the weather hadn’t changed so I decided not to go. The only problem with this decision was that I no longer had a reason to stay at the hostel the two extra nights I had booked but they didn’t give refunds because this situation comes up a lot with guests due to the weather changing so frequently. Also there were no buses running to the area for another two days. I was stuck there. I spent the day working on my blog on my computer and chatting with the other hikers that made the same decision as me that day. While discussing my situation with a few people, a young French man mentioned that he was planning on driving to Taupo that afternoon and offered me a ride. Taupo was on the way to Rotorua anyways so it worked out perfectly. I accepted his offer and gave him $20 for gas. I had to say goodbye to the money I spent on my booking at the National Park Hostel, but it was worth it to be able to get my trip back in motion. So after taking a few pictures and packing my clothes as fast as I could, I climbed into the French man’s (can’t remember his name) car and we headed to Taupo.