Voted NZ's best day hike and one of the best hikes in the world the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is just that! At various points along the 20km track, it reminded me of the literal meaning of the word 'breathtaking' once again. The track is said to be 'challenging' and at points I really felt that, but nothing that would made me want to turn back - like some of the sign posts suggested. I started at the Mangatepopo entrance and finished at the Ketetahi entrance. I wouldn't do it the other way as the best thins to see are at the start and you're tired by the time you get to the end which was rainforest and a walkway for 2.5hrs.
There are two options along the way the first is to hike to the summit of Mt Ngauruhoe aka Mt Doom from Lord of the Rings which they rated as extremely dangerous and I could see why as we walked by the base of it. It would add 2/3 hrs onto your journey and would be extremely difficult terrain to climb on. A lot of people opted not to do it. The second Option was to climb Mount Tongariro which would take 1hr 20 mins which I opted to do! Apart from some tricky snowy, icy situations it was pretty ok and I was super happy when I reached the top.
Overall I would totally recommend everybody to do this walk once in New Zealand. As my video says, it's is up there with some amazing places iv been to like Machu Picchu, Salar de Uyuni, Amazon etc and it is truly breathtaking just wait and see! One thing I would say is be prepared for all weather conditions and wear some good hiking boots because you will find yourself surrounded by snow, ice, sleet, volcanic ash, grit, rocks, mud and water which you will need to be prepared for. No one likes hiking 20kms in wet shoes!
Good luck and go for it :)