We often get asked whether you can see the lakes in the winter. The answer is always best told through images.
The Emerald Lakes and the Blue Lakes offer iconic views during the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. They are recognisable instantly and incredibly stunning. If you are after the most vibrant coloured lakes you are best to go up there in the summer.
As the snow begins to fall around May the lakes begin to cool down and get surrounded in icing sugar snow.
This arrives and melts and arrives and melts until it starts to settle in July.
In July the landscape can be covered in a blanket of snow and bit by bit the Emerald and Blue Lakes disappear altogether. By August it is impossible to spot them from the surrounding terrain as they get fully covered in ice and snow.
Can you spot the lakes in the photo above? This photo was taken from the same spot as the photo below.
The lovely part comes as the snow and ice begins to melt again in late September or early October. You see the lakes break up into a puzzle of icy formations. Like broken glass.
Blue Lake above and the Emerald Lakes below. By the time this is happening we are back to freedom hiking with no need for cramp-ons. Most of the track is clear of ice and is safe to hike with just good hiking boots.
Then we are back to the summer scenes so famous on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. So if you are set on seeing these stunning volcanic formations August is not the month for you. If you want to see it surrounded in white beauty then May-July could be for you or late September early October. If the striking colours is what you are looking to see go any time between November-April.