Monday, 16 February 2009

The Tongariro Crossing

So, you might think that I was going to have a great weekend anyway what with Matthew finally putting in an appearance, but it was even better than that as apart from the fact that I got to constantly say "Have I mentioned that I have nephew?" or "Have I mentioned that I'm an Aunty?", we did the Tongariro Crossing this weekend.


For those of you who don't know, this is an alpine walk between active volcanoes (well okay they haven't exactly been particularly active in the last while but...) and it's a walk that can be done in less than 7 hrs. It's considered by many to be one of the "must do" activities for anybody visiting NZ. Because of its popularity it's always very busy in the summer (up to 2000 people per day sometimes!) but it's also walked by people wearing clothing that I would never dream of going out for such a long walk in. And it's often obvious that these people really do not understand the way that the weather can literally go from glorious clear sun to v cold and no visibility in less than half an hour in this country. It's freaky but it does. We headed out in proper tramping gear wearing proper boots and carrying plenty of water each and with extra thermal layers in our packs and water proof gear. Amazingly we passed people with tiny little packs on their backs (though that was minority) and wearing either just trainers or sandals or thin plimsols! It's one of those things, you can do it wearing that gear if there's no sudden weather change and you don't stumble and twist your ankle but it ain't recommended. Note my sturdy boots below (don't they look huge??)

First Lake

Anyway the crossing itself was fantastic. We were so lucky to get a beautifully clear day which provided full visibility of Mt. Nguarhoe (Mt Doom in Lord of the Rings; as opposed to Mt Doom being its English name which is what I thought initially :) ) and fantastic views. We did the walk in 6.5 hrs with a number of breaks and numerous photos stops. It's a wonderfully barren landscape but quite captivating... walking across an inactive volcano crater is pretty cool :)

Mount Ngauruhoe

Oh and this is a photo of Soda Springs which is a short diversion off the main track after about an hour (?) of walking... not quite sure actually. Anyway they were quite lovely!
Soda Springs

On Sunday we visited some wonderful thermal pools and had a great walk around the area where there was some fantastic geothermal activity. We had a long drive back to Welly so about midday we set back off that way. Along the way we stopped off at the army museum in Waiouru, which I have to admit I was not that enthusiastic about initially, but which was just wonderful. Very moving and quite sad (well statistics and stuff from WWI always is I think). Well worth a visit for anybody driving along the desert road.

Got home about 6:30 on Sunday evening at which point I saw the first photos of Matthew and a wonderful movie snippet that my brother in law took of my sister holding Matthew for the first time.. at which point I burst in to tears. Ridiculous to cry at something so happy, but such is life :)


Paul Kavanagh said...

Did I mention I'm an uncle?


Kathleen said...

Wonderful pictures, i am so glad you got to do it my Dad has also done it and he mentions it often. Congrats on being an aunt, nothing wrong with crying out of happiness!

eefa said...

Thanks for compliment on the photos. Plenty more on flickr :)