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Taranaki on a clear day

It's been called one of the top 10 day walks in the world for good reason. The Tongariro Alpine

Crossing (19.5 kilometers and between seven-nine hours) is a slice of New Zealand's raw nature, where you can trek amid the volcanic craters and emerald-hued lakes of Tongariro National Park. Hikers traverse a barren yet beautiful lunarscape of craters and active volcanoes, pitted by ancient lava flows and speckled with steam vents and mountain springs. The spectacular alpine views, which can reach as far as Mount Taranaki on a clear day, are worth the sweat of the ascent, while experienced walkers keen to fit in more exercise can add side trips to climb either Mount Tongariro or Mount Ngauruhoe (which stood in for Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy) if they set off early in the morning. Location: Tongariro National Park, 80 kilometers southwest of Taupo
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