a VirtualTourist member from Dallas
however, from what I read
From Mangatepopo Rd end to Mangatepopo Hut is 15 mins
From Mangatepopo Hut to Mangatepopo Saddle is 1 ½ hr
From Mangatepopo saddle to Emerald Lake is 2 hrs
it maybe just too much for us, also we have no idea if the hiking is steep or it is flat, it may take more than 4 hrs to get there and there is no way we can just get it back, is there acompodation somewhere in saddle area?
There is no accommodation at the Mangatepopo Saddle. The Hut is the only place you could stay at - but normally people stay at a hotel/motel/hostel in National Park or Whakapapa Village and then take a bus to the start of the Tongariro Crossing Track.
The Emerald Lakes are about half-way through the hike. It is at the foot of the Red Crater. The track from the Central Crater down the slopes of the Red Crater is steep downhill, and from then on the other half of the hike is flat and a LOT downhill.
On the first part of the hike you have one uphill section from the M. Hut to the M. Saddle. This is not really long.
If you want to see the Emerald Lakes you have to be fit enough to walk the whole T. Crossing Track, as they are half-way through the walk. You have to be able to walk 8 to 9 hours.
It would be much more exhausting to walk back to M. Hut from the Emerald Lakes than to walk to the other end of the track, as the ascent back up the Red Crater is really long and steep. And the shuttle buses would pick you up at the other end, not at Mangatepopo Road.
I will hve to miss it then :(
Given your concerns about your fitness I am sure it is better to give the Emerald Lakes a miss. I hope you find another place you will love as much.