Central Crater & Blue Lake (1725m): It was a confusing descent into Central Crater with many walkers having difficulty on the loose scoria (scree) and my assumption that Michael was still behind me (which he wasn't). Once on the crater floor it was an easy stroll enabling crucial discussions about cellphone coverage and what to do if the volcano erupted!
Central Crater track KB4484
Michael & Keith MP2578
Mr Phun & Keith MB03
Looking back on Central Crater KB4487
Red Crater & Ngauruhoe KB4491
Blue Lake KB4497_8
Mr Phun & Rotoaira KB4499
A short climb took us to above Blue Lake which was skirted, then a final rise to the "exit" of the Tongariro craters was followed by a "busy" descent to Ketetahi. There were thousands descending on this track, many trying to make the first bus departure while others were cautiously picking their way down making for a somewhat congested and chaotic walk. We were in no hurry as we needed to wait for Maria although Michael was (in a hurry) as he had drank more than he had sweated and was in dire need of the toilet at Ketetahi!
Exit (Rotoaira background) KB4501
The descent KB4503
Above Ketetahi KB4504
Rotoaira beyond Ketetahi KB4506
As it happened, there was a huge queue at the Ketetahi toilets and despite racing ahead, Michael didn't get in much before I did as the line had got much shorter! We waited for Maria then headed down from Ketetahi Hut, with a great view of (Lake) Rotoaira and Lake Taupo beyond. The track drops 700m from 1460m (Ketetahi) to 760m at the road end, the latter half in pleasant bush.