Well I was surprised by the view this morning! Who is expecting views like these while parking for the night at a museum! Cheers to the view mate!
Drinking coffee with our neighbours
While drinking our coffee our neighbors woke up. The guy came over for a small talk. They were from the South Island traveling North for a few weeks because of their children who are living in the US nowadays. The grandchildren got a family tour around New Zealand in a big camper! They asked for our plans. We told them about our plan to walk the “track” to the top of Mount Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom). They gave us a heads-up as there was already some snow covering the tops. Their son walked the Tongariro crossing last week. They invited us in in their big camper to check the weather and some digital maps. After discussing about doing the Mount Doom track or just switch to the Tongariro one we (oh no it was me ? ) kept talking and talking about our adventure here. Those kiwi’s we meet are always so nice yeah!
We started our van and drove to the parking from the Tongariro crossing, but just before we enter the gravel road there is a sign telling us we’re only allowed to park here for 4 hrs!? Is it here that crowdy they can’t handle the busses and cars anymore?
While entering the carpark a ranger stopped us and asked us about our plans. We told him we wanted to do the track to the crater. He asked if we brought proper icepicks etc with us. Nope, so his advice was to do the Tongariro. He told us we’re lucky with the weather, some clouds and lot of sunshine. Ok we said, but what about the 4hr limit? He wouldn’t give us a clamp for a bit more than 4 hrs ?
We parked the van and I got a bee sting the moment i got out of the van… ? they seem to like our van but not me! Damn it was a long time I’ve had a bee sting… But it’s still better than those sandflies. Now put on those boots and start walking! The sun is shining yeah!
While walking the weather got better and better, the clouds around the mountaintops tried to escape. Only problem for me, I can’t handle high temperature’s while walking in a black area that’s some kind of a problem. So, couldn’t keep up with the speed from my girlfriend anymore and chose to enjoy as much as possible from my surroundings while walking at a lower speed. 30 minutes later even walking at slow speed wasn’t enough anymore, so I took off my shirt trying to catch some winds and prevent myself from overheating.
At this time, I can imagine how though it must have been for Frodo! He even didn’t have a DOC track. Those DOC guys outperformed themselves again, the track protects the landscape, makes the walk more enjoyable (easier so more time to look around) and at the same time blends in with the area…the best! But I am not there yet..
In the meantime, my girlfriend found a great look out point while waiting for me. We bonded together again. Enjoying those EPIC looks at the volcano. The slopes are 33° can you imagine that!? On our way to the top for the Emerald lakes we’ve met a lot of Tongariro crossers, exhausted but with a smile, some big some small. But they know they did manage to complete this though track. Hooray for these people! It’s beautiful to see them enjoying their victory on themselves.
The staircases spike my suffer rate, but we’re getting higher and a new landscape start to unfold in front of me. We arrive at the crater plain. Oh my, this plain is enormous and what a beautiful scenery! Doesn’t even fit in 1 shot with my wide-angle lens at my DSLR. Imagine black sand and small pieces of snowcrops trying to fight the warmth from the sun. After crossing this plain we go up for a hike which really isn’t a walk in the park anymore. But hey, we get some refreshing winds here, I am starting to like it again ?.
The higher we get, the better the views. And then you’re at the first top and damn lucky as the clouds instantly started fading around the top of Mount Doom. Boy what was I lucky! Good time for a little break and take some pictures. The clouds covered the peak just as soon again as they had disappeared, so time to continue up to the Emerald lakes. This last part of climbing up (at least for us) does feel way better it’s more my kinda style, it feels like crossing a sanddune. We needed to wait and help other (older) people sometimes, the track was slippery at some parts. But for everyone getting at the top the rewards are the same: outstanding views at the different lakes. We were lucky for sure, almost no clouds and the small clouds running along the sky actually added some beautiful lights and shadows to the whole scenery.
But oh boy, there are a lot of people here for sure! Every lake you look at from this top, you see people crawling around like little ants. Why didn’t we see them while getting up?
Tried to get some pictures from the scenery with and without the people but it was better to just sit down and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Time for some lunch and we had a chat with a girl from California waiting for her friends till they had reached the top. She was only seven days in NZ, and after this 7 days in Vietnam and before this 7 days in Australia. Wondered why she did the trip like this. She said, no real reason just because they could do it. ? After the lunch her friends finally made it to the top. So she joined her friends again. We said goodbye and wished them a wonderful trip.
We had lunch a 100 meters under the top I think, so we had to climb up again. Guess what? I was quicker than my girlfriend! Running those sanddunes back at home finally paid out! The way back we enjoyed the same scenery, but more and more clouds appeared at the sky. So less and less sunshine during our way back to the van. Perfect timing! ?
Little bit of Iceland
I know by know how hard Frodo his journey must have been, but oh boy I bet he enjoyed it every single step. I know I did! It feels a little bit like Iceland here. I really do like this type of landscape scenery. The best part? The best is yet to come as we just started with discovering this area! Upcoming days should deliver a lot more Icelandic style landscape features like hot pools, volcanoes, geyser, and for sure the smell of Sulphur.
After our walk we decided to drive to Taupo, to see the lake but by the time we got there the clouds won. So, no more views at the lake for us, but instead we found a nice Icelandic style gem at the village Taupo. Just in the park there is a hot river where you can swim and hang around. Time to relax in the hot water.
Oh boy, this is like Iceland but even better no cold winds at all! A perfect place for me as small talk is easy, tourist or local everyone shared, and we only left after it turned completely dark. We still needed a place to stay for the night and decided to check out the DOC campsite at the lake shore. Parked our van had a quick meal and fell asleep. Goodnight!
[//]:# (!steemitworldmap -39.144985 lat 175.581055 long Mount Ngauruhoe (Mount doom from Lord of the Rings) d3scr)