You should definitely not miss out on this “greatest one-day-tour of the world”, even if you're not a big fan of hiking nor be super sportif or a big Lord of the Rings addict. We didn’t establish this title, but we would endorse it for sure! Don’t underestimate the one-way tour, though. Also check with an i-site whether it is possible to go or not, because the hike can become quiet dangerous at certain weather conditions and they might close it for tourists. It might get windy too and you will be exposed for a long time so take warm clothes, hat and scarf and maybe gloves – even in summer. It is still an high-alpine tour, which will take at least 6-8 hours (19.4 km), no matter how good in shape you are. Additionally, there is still some volcanic activity and at some places you can either smell the sulfur or see it smoking out of the ground.
Don’t forget to bring a shitload of water! There will be no place to refill and better not try to drink from the lakes ;)
Since you are walking from a starting point (A) to finish point (B) you need to get transport organized. There are several bus companies that pick you up in the morning from the campsite and bring you back after you will be done hiking for $30 per person. Though it is still necessary to keep an eye on the time, because latest return is at 4:30 pm. There is also the possibility to drive your own car to the finish line early in the morning and get a pick up to the starting point (also $30 per person). Or you got 2 cars and arrange one car at each side. Anyways you need to be there early (around 6 in the morning or even before that), because there are limited parking spots and it can get quiet packed depending on the weather of course. For safety reasons consider taking your valuables with you and don’t leave them in the car lying around since you are certainly gone for at least 8 hours.
An extra challenge is to conquer Mount Doom. When you are planning to climb the Ngauruhoe, how it is actually called, plan an extra time of 2,5 – 3 hours and you might consider to not be able to get to the bus transfer in time. We heard that it is not a big deal to find a fellow hiker who will take you back to your car by hitchhiking, otherwise calling a cap (expensive – up to $120) or arranging your car at the finish point is an option.
If we had to name one thing we didn’t like about the hike, then that there were so many people doing it at once. But hey, doesn’t that say it all? It is only so popular because it’s really worth it!