Taupo - Tongariro Crossing

Trip Start Nov 21, 2007
Trip End Oct 01, 2008

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Saturday, February 2, 2008

This was a one day, one-way trek. We got picked up at 6:30 am to be taken to the drop off point. It was a 18.5 km walk..so pretty long for one day. Everyone warned us about the possibility of poor weather and this trek, but we did not have any flexibility...so we woke up to on an overcast day. The clouds and fog stayed around us most of the day but we had some moments of great weather too. AND it did not rain which is always a positive.

Many people claimed that this is the best one day hike in New Zealand, and we might have agreed if we had been more fortunate with the weather. The trek is over a steep volcanic terrain. We climbed up a steep, rocky area they call Devil's Staircase. We can tell you anything named something with Devil cannot be good! It was neverending, but then we got to see a cool crater that we made our way through. Now, this is when the weather made a turn for the worst. The clouds rolled in and the wind picked up as we climbed to the highest point of about 1,800 meters. This was where we were supposed to see the Red Crater, but we saw only a tiny bit of the side of the crater unfortunatly. The clouds were too heavy to see any of it. Our luck then changed and the sky opened up. We were able to see the Emerald Lakes where we had a bite to eat. We walked down a bit further to the Central Crater and Blue Lake with nice weather. The trek down took forever and yes, the weather was great for that portion. (of course!)

Oh and the pictures of the helicopter were to show that even National Parks have to have upgrades. The workers were adding cement mixture to the path as we crossed it. The helicopter would fly up with a load of mix, dump it, and fly away. We saw this process multiple times which helped entertain us through the long, windy track down.

We had to wait about an hour for our bus to take us back to Taupo. That was a great time to lose the shoes and socks and take a cat nap!

Jana took a picture of the random flower because she thought it looked like a combination of a daisy and yucca plant.

We hung out in Taupo, the sky diving capital of NZ, for the evening and waited for a night bus to pick us up at 1:50 am to go to Auckland to catch our flight to Queenstown.

Random side story: We bought a HUGE square pizza for dinner at a Pac 'n Save that we split for two nights...and it was only $10. It was not that great, but once again, you can put sauted onions on anything and make it taste wonderful.
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