Visited Tongariro National Park today, home of Mt Ruapehu. At 2797 M it is the highest peak in the area. I was aiming to complete some volcanic walks on the mountain. The Skyline Ridge was the first. To get to the start point requires 2 chairlift rides and you start at 2,020 M. I quickly re-learned I am not fond of heights as my hands grasped the bar tightly. Although the actual trail only went to 2,300 M it was a gruesome hike. At times the trail was hard to determine and there were parts where you were scrambling over volcanic rock and walking through volcanic ash. I must admit it was not a fun hike and it took me well over an hour to get to a good vantage point, with plenty of breaks of course.. The views were quite stunning and you could easily see Mt Tongariro with its characteristic cone-shaped peak.. Fortunately it only took 45 min for the descent. For some reason the rides down were more palatable. Next stop Meads Wall which was a film location for the Lord of the Rings. The unique rock formations have a very unique look. Fortunately this was only a
30 minute track, however, still quite steep. Mounds Walk was a short walk to a viewing point where one could see a number of random mounds scattered around the countryside. The day terminated with my final hike to a cute waterfall - Tawhai Falls. It was now approaching 6 PM and starting to get dark so time to head "home". Luckily tomorrow my day will be driving to Wellington for the ferry to the South Island so my legs will get a breather unless of course I see some "beaches of opportunity"!