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The Mordor Tongariro Alping Crossing

To talk about the Tongariro, a little music is needed.

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Frodo must take the ring to the top of the volcano in Mordor. By launching the ring into the volcano, he will destroy Sauron and bring peace back to Middle-earth. The land of Mordor really exists. The scenes that have been shot come from the center of the North Island, in the volcanic area of Taupo.

Le Mordor

The track Tongariro Alping Crossing

You have two choices to discover the Mordor, or you have the loop hiking that lasts 4 days. Either you have the hike that lasts a day. A 20km hike that will take you through some of the scenes of Mordor as well as beautiful scenery.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Map of Tongariro Alping Crossing


For the day trip, it is important to note that this is not a loop, so leave your vehicle at the end of the hike and then take a bus that will take you to the beginning. It costs about $ 40 per person for the ride.

Another solution is to have two cars. One at the beginning and one at the end that will allow you to be able to return to pick up the vehicle from the depot. If you go to the local campsites, you will surely find other people who wish to go hiking. It will then be possible to arrange!


The start of the hike begins in the plains of volcanic rocks from the various volcanic activities that formed the North Island. You then climb the first slope. You then arrive at the foot of Mt Ngauruhoe. The mountain where one must throw the ring in. Throughout this part, you will be surrounded by black rock. Most of this will be basalt from the rapid cooling of the lava during its casting. You can observe ancient lava flows along the way.

Coulée de lave
The Mt Ngauruhoe

A tremendous hike awaits you if you want to climb the mountain. Already there is no path, you climb the mountain. And there I speak to you of the mountain that you see in the films. I promise you that when you get to the top, you have respect for Sam carrying Frodo on his shoulders. When I made it in summer, there was snow, plan gloves, hats, etc … And be careful the rock is basalt, it is very abrasive!

Mt Ngauruhoe


The hike will take you 3 hours, but at the top you will have a sacred view over the whole area. Magnificent!!! And the mountain always releases water vapor, highlighting a volcanic activity. She is at rest but can wake up at any time. Its last eruption dates from 1977, during which the volcano ejected molten lava rocks and ashes that spread over a distance of 3km.

Emerald Lake and Mt Tongariro are located after the track. Mt Tongariro will take you an hour and a half more to reach its summit. It should be noted that its last eruption dates from August 6, 2012. The lake is an emerald color due to volcanic activity in the vicinity.


The hike is located in the volcanic area of ​​Taupo. Its landscape is mainly composed of volcanic rocks such as basalt, granite, etc. The area is located in the volcanic region of the North Island. It includes numerous volcanic and geothermal sites including the Ruepahu, Ngauruhoe and White Island Mountains. Very young, the volcanoes of the Tongariro National Park date from 2 million years ago. They are located on the Pacific belt of fire.

Ring of fire

The ring of fire is a chain of volcanoes surrounding the Pacific Ocean over 40,000 km. There are nine-tenths of the world’s volcanoes. It is also an area with high seismic activity.

On the American continent, it is made up of the Andes, the Central American Cordillera, the Cascade Range in the United States and the volcanoes of Alaska. It is found along the Aleutian Islands, Japan, and Indonesia. It largely bypasses Australia to include Fiji and New Zealand.

The formation of these volcanoes, as well as the seismic activity correspond to zones of subduction. The oceanic plate sinks under another plate, continental or oceanic, thus forming volcanoes along its entire length.


ïle du Nord
Subduction of the Pacific plate, forming the North Island of New Zealand, 23 million years ago

On the American side, for example, the continent is advancing towards the west (towards Russia ^^). To the south of the Pacific Ocean, the Nazca Plate sinks eastward into South America, forming the Andes Cordillera and the numerous earthquakes that take place there. Concerning New Zealand, the Pacific plate subdues under the Australian plate. This made it possible to form the volcanic zone of Taupo

Taupo volcanic zone (TVZ)

The volcanic area of Taupo is located inland on the northern island of New Zealand. It was created more than 2 million years ago and forms a “V” via a slow extension of its two ends (Bai of plenty and Ruapehu). The TVZ is in an East-West expanse of 8 to 10mm per year.

Taupo volcanic zone

The area encompasses all the volcanoes of the North Island, whether it is Mt Ngauruhoe or Mt Tongariro. It is more than 350 km long and 50 km wide.


For all definitions: go to this page.
For the time scale is here!


“The field guide to New Zealand Geology, An introduction to rocks, minerals and fossils”; Jocelyn Thrnton, Pinguin Books

“In search of ancient New-Zealand”; Hamish Campbell & Gerard Hutching; Pinguins books

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