NZ - Day 5 - Part 1

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Today definitely feels like it's been two days crammed into one, so I'm breaking it into two parts. 

Jon and I started very early. Both my camera and my eyes were blurry when I took this photo.


We had to drive 1 hour from Taupo to get to the end of the Tongariro Crossing hike by 6am.  We left the van there and took the shuttle to the start of the track. Then we got going at almost exactly 7am.  

Now I must backtrack a little and say that barren volcanic landscapes aren't really my thing, but as this 20km hike is raved about by everyone we know who has done it, as well as the entire internet and the NZ government itself, we thought it would be fun to take this opportunity and see what all the fuss was about.   

I must also say that since we have been in NZ this time around, we haven't had a single day that has gone as the weather forecast has suggested it should go. We've had rain on days forecast to be dry. 30 degrees on days forecast not to go above 23, and today we started with low cloud instead of clear skies. 

After a farewell from the shuttle bus driver (and a reminder that we  we're going to have good weather)  we started jogging up the largely flat valley, past hundreds of people who managed to get up even earlier that we did. In fact I'd say  we were moving at an average of twice the pace of walkers and we didn't pass our last one until 5kms from the end - unless they'd been walking all night they must have started at 5am.



We got a good 4kms of easy running before the trail started to head upwards, and the rain started to come downwards. We didn't run any uphills on this hike but we were still moving up to the pass pretty quickly compared to most of the other walkers who were freezing their butts off either in inappropriate clothing or just because they were moving so slowly.   The wind was trying to blow us off the trail and we stopped to put on our rain jackets, beanies and gloves.  Being Tasmanian (and also forewarned), we were prepared for adverse conditions.


The wind only increased the higher we got and by the time we made it to the highest point there was nothing to be seen (but wet hikers).  Not quite the views we'd been promised!  We slid our way down from the peak and to on to one of the major photo stops along the way - Emerald Lakes.   The other famous ones - Red Crater & Blue Lake - were completely obscured by the cloud.


Thankfully we were mostly protected from the wind after the top so although it was still wet, it was much more pleasant hiking and running. It was a shame not to see the views until we were much lower down.





With about 5 k to go we descended into nice trees and other vegetation - there was even a waterfall!   I really enjoyed that bit!



We made it back down to the car by 11 - so we took just under 4 hours all up.   It was a fun adventure despite the crappy weather.  We had a quick lunch by the side of the road (since we had breakfast at 4.45am we were getting hungry), then headed back to Taupo and the kids.


NZ - Day 11 - Hawkes Bay to Hamilton Tuesday, 4 February 2020
NZ - Day 9 - STB - Day 2 Saturday, 1 February 2020
NZ - Day 8 - STB Day 1 Friday, 31 January 2020
NZ - Day 7 - Taupo to Havelock North Thursday, 30 January 2020
NZ - Day 6 - Rotorua Wednesday, 29 January 2020
NZ - Day 5 - Part 2 Tuesday, 28 January 2020
NZ - Day 5 - Part 1 Tuesday, 28 January 2020
NZ - Day 4 - Lonely Mountain Sprints - Day 3 Monday, 27 January 2020
NZ - Day 3 - Lonely Mountain Sprints Day 2 Sunday, 26 January 2020
NZ - Day 2 - Lonely Mountain Sprints Day 1 Saturday, 25 January 2020
NZ - Day 1 - Auckland to New Plymouth Friday, 24 January 2020
Hello NZ! Thursday, 23 January 2020