Today, we really entered Lord of The Rings country - and what a country it is. We booked ourselves on an 18km trek - yes Dan too - to finally see just how perfect this country is.
We were picked up at 6.20 (after a night out on the beer - not the best idea we have had) and driven straight to the real Mount Doom, the start and setting for the first third of the trek. The walk itself is known as the Tongariro Northern Circuit, and is rated as one of the best one day walks in the world.
And it's not hard to see why.
Walking all day, the different types of land you see and wander through are as varied as my headwear. We started working up grassy hill, which promptly transformed to craggy rocks, and these rocks soon become buried in snow, before we ventured into heather covered fields and finishing off with forest surronding us on all sides like a tunnel of ferns.
Gone was the fiery eye - instead the clear skies and peace of the countryside engulfed us all, and whether it was because we were exhausted, or more likely, hypnotised by the wonders around us, very little was spoken the whole day.
Nothing needed to be said. It was enough to see this place.
It must be one of the most versatile places in the world - everchanging and contrasting every second. You get lost in the views and the peace, and it often took a cold wind or a poke to shake somebody out of it, or else we might still be up there now, watching the no doubt mind-blowing sunset.
I'm not religous. But as yuo look out over these landscapes, a spirituality sort of engulfs you. You are thankful that this exists on the Earth, whether created by a superior being or just nature.
We are lucky to have it, and I am so priveledged to have seen it.