What a tiring few days! After passing through Rotorua again for a night and down into Taupo (where i did absolutely nothing as the weather was krap and i was hungover practically every day) we headed into the Tongariro National Park which has a one day 8 hr trek that is classed as the Best one day hike in New Zealand. Well, not one to pass up on these opportunities i put my name down for the walk the next day (along with about a thousand others who had been waiting around for the weather to clear up). it was an early start (8ish) and we drove from our accomodation into the National Park. As you can see from the pictures and the videos this is volcano country! there are 3 main peaks that form the park (Ruapehu, Ngarahoe and Tongariro) and one of them (Ngarahoe) is the one used for Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings - you just need to use a little imagination to add the lava and all the orcs! The walk traverses two of the volcano's as Tongariro is more of a skifield and has alot of snow on its peaks and then takes you down the other side out through native forest and what im told is a nice leisurely stroll!
but holy hell its a workout and a half! the first part wasnt too bad quite sedate actually but after an hour into the walk theres literally a rock face called the devils staircase that you have to find some form of route to get up it. Many slips and scratches later i got to the top! Only to find out that it wasnt the top there was plenty more uphill huffing and puffing to go! It gets kinda windy up in the saddle between the 2 volcano's which is why the walk is cancelled a lot. If the weathers not good or there is low cloud they cancel the walk in the morning. We were really lucky as we had perfect weather - clear blue sky with only a few clouds. We took alot of breaks on the way up to munch some sweets/choc for energy - oh and to take photos of which i have like a hundred! Which was good as it was nice to take our time to enjoy the views and get our breath back. There are a few hairy bits of the walk and its like one dodgy step and ur off the track, but mainly its ok. Downhill on the loose scoria is a death trap, your literally skimming the whole way down as the ground is so loose you cant get a good foot hold onto it - nearly ended up on my bum, but managed to keep my balance! Lunch at the lakes was lovely and really relaxing, if a little smelly with the geothermal steam that comes up from the side!
The going down bit was really easy as it winds down through a valley, but once in the forest it was kinda like, just get me back to the bus! it took forever to get out and it kinda got a little dull to be honest. And as you can see from the pix it was sooo good to get on the bus and sit down knowing ur going to get to a shower and a hot tub!
it was an amazing walk and i am so glad i did it - that night back at the lodge it was dinner, spa, beer and bed for practically everyone on the walk! it was so nice to have a few days here afterwards to do nothing and look after my aching butt! damn i was in pain the next day :o) Anyways folks internet time is running out - catch up with u later!