THIS IS NOT another account of a nose-to-tail march across Tongariro’s Alpine Crossing, but an alternative off-track adventure avoiding the crowds and visiting some hidden and untouched waypoints encircling Mt Ngauruhoe.

We followed the well-beaten track from Mangatepopo car park to just past Mangatepopo Hut, where we scrambled through hardy tussock to Hardmans Ridge. Following the ridge, the tussock gives way to scoria,

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