Sorry about that, were was I........
We went to bed fairly early on Saturday night and were all up at 5.30am on Sunday ready for our day of trekking (or tramping as the kiwi's call it!) along the Tongariro Crossing, apparently the best one day walk in New Zealand. You trek across the Tongariro National Park, with its mighty active volcanoes, which is one of New Zealands most spectacular parks. So at 6.15am, the hot bus shuttle, picked up Jem and I with our mates from the Magic Bus; Rob from stoke, Tim from Brighton and lucy and Lee from Bracknall and took us to the start of the walk about an hour and a half drive away. We stopped on the way to get gear for those who needed to hire them and began the 17km walk at 8.15am. Gus, our driver, arranged to pick us up at the end of the walk, at a different point, at 4pm giving us 8hrs to complete it - plenty of time!
It was so beautiful to see the sun shining on the snow capped mountains, the scenery was amazing. The walk started as a gentle gradient and turned into a steep climb, with lots and lots of steps and then a descend. We past the magnificent Mount Ngaruahoe (2287m) which played the role of Mordor's Mt Doom in Lord of the Rings, Mount Tongariro and it's Red Crater which was an amazing sight, the Emerald lakes (a group of water filled explsion craters), past the Blue Lake (an old vent), hot pools, steaming vents, and finally past Mount Ruapehu (2797m), also used in the Lord of the Rings, and the highest and most active of the parks volcanoes.
The walk was hard going but looking behind me to see the Red Crater, first setting eyes on the lakes and walking through a crater made it all worthwhile. Jem, myself, Rob and Lee completed the walk in 7hrs and then unfortunately had to wait for the rest of the group to finish. The last person arrived just over an hour after us with lots of blisters.
That night the whole group went out for a few at the local Irish bar, Mulligans, and we met a scouser called Becks who worked behind the bar and made me and Lucy a free cocktail which was nice of her.
On Monday we got the Magic Bus to the capital city of Wellington. From Taupo we drove along Desert Road, past the volcanoes from Lord of the Rings, through a small town called Taihape (land of gumboots), stopped at Flat Hills Cafe for a bite to eat and to meet the big pot bellied pig, boar, sheep, cows, goats and chucks. From there we drove through the small towns of Hunterville (like the dog), Foxton, Paraparaumu and then Bulls which has the funniest signs like Police Station = Const-a-bull, toliets = Reliv-a-bull, Post Office = Post-a-bull and Bank = bank-a-bull. We got to Wellington late afternoon and drove to the summit of Mount Victoria for a fantastic view of the city and then got dropped off at our hostel - City YHA.
Today we've been to, the free, Te Papa Museum (Museum of New Zealand) which is a brilliant interactive museum about New Zealand. My fav bit was the earthquake stimulation - scary stuff! After spending a couple of hours exploring, we came back to the hostel passing (and posing for a photo of course!) a street called Barnett Street. Tonight Jem's cooking all 6 of us a proper roast dinner followed by Hokey Pokey ice-cream - yummy!
Tomorrow Jem and I are going to explore Wellington and on Thursday we catch the 3hr ferry to Picton in the south island and then get the Magic Bus to Nelson for a few days.
So that's it from me, I'll be in touch soon. xxxx