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Road trippin to Middle Earth

January 18, 2012

Yet another retroactive post, this is the continuation of my time with Chris and Lena. From Coromandel, we drove straight south through Tauranga, Rotorua, and Taupo, (again, map time), and ended up in the Tongariro National Park. The main town in the area is National Park, whitch is really just a lodge, cafe, and petrel station, and the only attraction is the natural scenery, which by the way, is glorious!

To save money (and be awesome) we were camping during this part of the trip. Besides the 20 minutes when we took the above picture, it rained continuously for two days- stifling the awesomeness a bit.

The main achievement you can do is the Tongariro alpine Crossing.

We decided to do the trail on the 3rd day, regardless, fuck the rain…

I Awoke at 5:30 that morning, to find a perfectly crisp, bright sky!

We only went up half way, then back (mostly since the car was at one end, and the quickest way back from the other is the trail, and taking an average of 6 hours one way, we weren’t keen to go for double).

It really was a spectacular tramp! There were great, sketchy bits of trail that were nothing more than climbing around on rocks, interspersed with scenic  valleys with board walks.

Yes yes, but what about Lord of the Rings?  The landscape the trail goes through is where they filmed Mordor. You might recognize Mt. Doom.

Once you get to the middle of the trail, you can choose to climb to the crater. There is no path for this part, and it is mostly scrambling up the very sandy, steep hillside of the volcano.

Here’s a shot of the inside of the volcano.

It took up about 2-3 hours to make it half way up the trail, and another 3ish from there to the crater. It was a grueling trek, but for those who are mad enough to start, it’s worth it to finish.

I really enjoyed being there, and it is one of the highlights of my trip so far, especially considering that I hadn’t planed to be in that part of the country at all.


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