Tongariro Crossing and Mount Mauganui

Published: January 24th 2016
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Sorry for all the photos - just couldn't pick a few it was so amazing!!

How to end a holiday of adventure? How to top everything we had done with an achievement and challenge? Well we found the answer…the Tongariro crossing where you walk over an active volcano…because why not! The weather had kicked up and we had 32km winds to contend with but there was no way we weren’t going to make it. So we donned our day packs and hiking boots and set out for our adventure. It started out tame enough but as we climbed higher my thigh started to cramp up – not ideal when faced with 10km of uphill and stairs but I continued on with many stops (thanks for your patience Em!) As we got higher the wind kicked up and it was a head wind making it more difficult. We paused next to a large boulder out of the wind to have some lunch. Not far from here we had to scrabble up the rock face with the help of a rope. But then we were on the edge of the crater!! It was amazing, so beautiful if still windy. We saw a ledge looking out where the lakes should be and decided to sit and wait to see if the clouds would move…and we were rewarded by the gods of the mountain because the cloud cleared and we were able to see the magnificent lakes in the craters and get some photos before the cloud moved back in. It was breathtaking.

Then we had to get down…and this is a volcano so we were surrounded by volcanic ash sand…so we moved down like goats with our feet sideways trying not to lose our footing!! When we got down to the next level we walked around the sulfer lakes then began the decent. There was still some ups which my thigh still wasn’t happy with but then there was 8km of down…what goes up must go down. This time it was Em that struggled with a knee injury hampering y=her efforts but she pushed through and we made it to the end! So proud of us.

After this we had a quick shower said goodbye to Mary and jumped on a bus to Mount Mauganui (Thank you for everything you did for us Mary – you organised an amazing adventure, we couldn’t have done it without you!) The bus was running 45 minutes late but managed to drop off us on time 3 hours later – the bus driver was driving like a crazy man!! We got a taxi to our hostel and were a bit concerned as were going past the docks to get there but it was a really nice and clean hostel and only 20 minute walk to the shops. It is a beachside town with lots of restaurants so we sat down and had our final meal and wine together. Thanks for coming on this part of the trip Em – wouldn’t have been the same without you!

So I was now on my own with a full day to kill in Mount Mauganui. After saying goodbye to Em I pulled on my hiking shoes and set off to conquer Mount Mauganui, an inactive volcano. I thought I was fit but after our walk the day before I struggled with all the steps…and had people running past me, felt like I was at the 1000 steps back home!! But the view out to the beach and surrounding islands was amazing and well worth the effort. I then spent the day walking around the area and jumping in the waves. I took a quick boat ride around the harbour and one of the nearby islands then decided to spend the end of my evening watching the moon and stars while I soaked in the Mauganui hot pools…it’s a tough life!!

After a run around the base of the volcano this morning I am now on my bus ready to catch my plane to my next adventure which is Mardi Gras in New Orleans. For those that don’t know what that is it has NO relation to the Sydney Mardi Gras – Mardi Gras just means parade and New Orleans knows how to do it right I’m sure – so a couple of weeks of parades and drinking and dancing and fun times are ahead. I will update you all with how awesome it is as soon as I get a chance…pity it is going to be so cold!

I can’t thank my friends enough for their generosity and all that was done for me in New Zealand (see you all in Perth I hope) – I am already planning my next trip to New Zealand and really tackle the hiking here, there is so much natural beauty here and I can’t wait to come back!

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