We just got back from possibly the most exhausting, amazing trek ever - known as 'New Zealand's best one day trek', you are supposed to only do this trek if you are in good physical condition, which after 2 months of travelling we are not, but we thought (in the words of Jeremy Clarkson), how hard can it be?!
Our little walk started with a 6am (gasp!) pickup from our hostel to take us to the bottom of mount rupahu and the neighbouring volcanos, including mount doom. All kitted out with our waterproof jackets, walking boots, and waterproof trousers, we headed on our 19.4 km (yes, thats right, not all fun and games for us backpackers!) up and down the 1900 meter high volcanos. It was tiring to say the least - my toes are bleeding, my legs are practically dead, all of our fingers inflammed due to the altitude, but it was an amazing walk, probably the best ever.
The views were spectacular - all the way up, it just got better and better (when you stopped to breath for dear life). When we got to the highest point (in the middle of the clouds and the steam from the volcano), the crater was bright red (as you'll see in pictures I am uploading on another site, the link is at the bottom of this post), There were these incredible turquoise pools as well (also in the pictures), it just looked amazing. Each different part of the walk looked completely different, from volcanic ash to shrubs and lakes to rainforest at the end - strange and amazing at the same time.
By the end of it though, I was just completely sick of walking. It finally ended and we are now enjoying the warm hostel and a bowl of soup.
For pictures, check out : http://gaellespictures.blogspot.com/2010_05_01_archive.html
(the also include a few from Australia)