Best day walk in New Zealand

Trip Start Jan 20, 2005
Trip End Sep 10, 2005

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Sunday, April 3, 2005

It was about time I'd experienced what's known as 'The best day walk in New Zealand'. A title like this unfortunately attracts the wrong kind of people. On the ten day walks , you might see 3-4 people each day and maybe even less , where as on a track known as 'The best day walk' there are obviously going to be hundreds of people on the track at once. If you didn't know we were hiking , you could connect our legs with chains, we were that close.
Woke up at 5:50 to get the bus. For the people who didn't get the New Zealand mind set yet- If it's called a 'crossing' it obviously starts and ends on opposite sides which means that you should probably take a bus. I left with the girls that I met at Nelson and the two German girls that I met in Napier. We began walking after the initial shock resulting from quantity of people herding through. I've never seen so many unprepared and unfit people on one track - I mean sneakers and jeans style. The tracks that I did so far were either off the beaten track or several days which pretty much filtered out the one-day-sneaker-jeans-taker-breakers-all-the-timers kind of people.
The one positive thing about this track though... is that it definitely lives up to its name. Every time you turn around the mountain , you see something else amazing. The different colors of the rock and the smoke coming out , and lakes and views were just spectacular. At one point we were just talking and talking and all of the sudden Tamar was like 'Hey guys , stop! Look where we are.' and when we looked around us , we realized that we were in a giant crater overlooking Mt. Tongariro. If we were in a movie then the camera would zoom out on us and you would see the whole crater but we weren't... in a movie that is.
Going up was a snap but going down was a ... punch? ... Would that work? Anyway , going down was awful because of my knees. Maybe the eleven 2-3-4 day tramps that I did are catching up with me. Every step going down was painful and this made me realize that I will have to give up my next climb which was supposed to be Mt. Eggmont in Taranaki. This is also the end of my constant exercise and I must find a substitute otherwise I will take up too much space in my pictures and you won't get to see the views behind me. (Bet that never occurred to you as a reason not to gain weight on vacation).

The North and South Island are very very different. I sensed this the minute I came into Wellington and tried to find my way around. The cities are bigger , there are more choices to make , more people , and many roads. It's a little disappointing but no worries. There is plenty to do here and I will do it all. Hopefully there is some deserted spot , just waiting for me to discover. The anthem has already been carefully written , the flag is yet to be designed and the president has been elected *wink* *wink*. The national food will be coffee and ... Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.

So despite the fact that you are 'office party' ing the whole track , the views are amazing and check out the pictures. Next stop is stinkyville- Rotorua.
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