New Zealand
Ruapehu District

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  • Day42

    Day 42/72: Tongariro Crossing

    December 8, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    We woke up early to get the shuttle bus to the start of the Tongariro Crossing! It was a cold morning and we were walking up to over 1800m so we wrapped up warm. We wolfed down big bowls of cereal, made some ham and cheese cobs and set off for the bus.

    The bus was full and we arrived at the crossing with about 40 other people. There were already lots of people there, it was a beautiful Saturday after all and the weather promised to stay clear and dry. We began the walk pretty much as soon as we got off the bus, interestingly the driver who took us there becomes responsible for anyone who they bring to the crossing, and has to ensure that they are finished by the end of the day and if not the driver has to go and find them.

    The scenery was fantastic, mountains right in front of us and snow capped peaks looming up from the lava rock that we were walking across. The crowds had come in droves though and at the start it felt a lot like quick queueing instead of hiking. But as Izzi marched on ahead, overtaking people as if she had somewhere to be, the crowds thinned out and walking became much more pleasant. The first section was all uphill and before long we'd stopped to take off all our layers, change into shorts and layered on the suncream. The scenery was brilliant all the way: you'll see in the pictures.
    The path was decent too, gravel and staired, and then we came over a ridge and for about a mile it was completely flat with mountains to our left and right. It felt like a huge crater on the moon (or what you'd imagine that to look like if you walked across it). We then had to scramble out of the crater on the other side, and at the top stopped to have a waffle and an apple, and sit looking over the rolling hills and mountains around us, truly spectacular! We carried on up the hill and below the top of the peak we saw 3 lakes steeply below us, with steam rising from random points in the ground. The walk down there was tricky, patches of loose dry mud that sank under your feet, and gravel on top of very hard dry rock which made you skid. At this point we felt sorry for the people struggling in trainers and plimsoles, and we slightly wondered at the end if they had fallen or not. It was tough going and the steam began to drift across the path, filling out heads with the smell of badly rotten eggs (this won't quite translate in the pictures). We walked around the lakes, taking lots of photos and then left quickly as the stench was getting to us.

    The hike from that point was all downhill, and the landscape below us began to reveal itself. It was stunning, and we were walking towards it and could see for miles. What a great hike! The further we got down, the more the landscape changed. The greener the plants got and the higher they grew. After a few hours, we'd gone from walking through barran desert to walking through a lush green forest. It'd taken us 5 and a half hours of walking, and we sat at the end waiting for the bus to take us back to the campsite, feeling very fulfilled and thinking about the views we'd just seen. Unfortunately, we had done it a bit quicker than expected, and the first bus back wasn't expected for at least another hour, so we sat in the sun and baked for a bit.

    The entire walk was dotted with signs of what to do if the volcano erupts, and "Caution- you are now entering a lahar flow zone- move quickly and don't stop. If you hear noise from upstream, run." which made it interesting.

    After a good half an hour on a bus, we realised just how tired we were and read for the rest of the afternoon and evening in the dappled sunlight split by trees over our campervan. It was a fab day!
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  • Day60

    To Tongariro

    January 5 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Auckland was surprisingly quiet and empty for being a big city. We took the bus in the early morning from the SkyCity bus terminal, destination National Park. Not a national park, but a small town near a national park called National Park. From here we want to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing which is supposed to be one of the best day hikes in the world. The town isn't big but has a small shop that sells groceries, souvenirs and basic outdoor gear. It was good enough to provide us with all ingredients for a nice pizza dinner. The atmosphere in the lodge we're staying in is like a mountain hut from the 90s or so. They have a ping pong table, a nice kitchen, hot tubs and we even got upgraded to a private room with en suite bathroom. Not bad after so many nights in our tent. Good to know we can stay here 3 nights.Read more

  • Day66

    Wanganui river - 3 day journey

    December 4, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Day 1
    6am start for the canoe trip so we were up at 5.20 to drive to the start. Looks like most people are not on time, so the lady was pleasantly surprised we were there. Got a nice bit of home made honey and toast and a cup of tea, followed by a safety briefing. Which basically said it is quite likely that you will fall out of the Canadian style canoe.
    We packed our belongings for 3 days, plus hired camping stuff, into 6 waterproof barrels and we loaded into a bus to be taken to where we would join the river.
    An hour an a half later we were at the start. The Wanganui river goes all the way to the coast but we opted for the 3 day 2 night version. We were first ready and after a brief check that we knew what we were doing we were off.
    Glorious sunshine, some fun grade 2 rapids and an amazing steep sided tropical valley.
    Did some paddling, a lot of sitting and watching the fern trees and tropical jungle float by.
    Had lunch whilst floating and about 4pm landed at the first Department of Conservation camp site. A charming couple were there to greet us. It is only accessible by jet boat and they are there volunteering for a week, before the next set of people take over.
    Met a few people as they paddled in in drips and drabs. Almost all of them were walking the length of NZ, from the north to the south. One lady was running it! Doing a marathon a day. Mental.
    With Sand Flies eating every bit of exposed skin even with the 95% deet we retired for the night.

    Day 2
    Rain on the tent woke us up. Uggghh. We Waited about 30 mins but it still was not stopping so we got up anyway. Most people had left or were already leaving.
    We packed up the tent in between showers and got on the river. Had breakfast whilst floating. Made it to a stop off where you can do a 40 min walk to a bridge called Bridge to Nowhere. Nice walk with only a few people on it. At the end a concrete bridge built by 4 guys in a couple of years. Now not very well used.
    Back on the river we had a few breaks in the showers so managed to get the drone up. Made you realise how far away from civilisation we were. If you wandered off from the river, you would never be found.
    Got down to our private campsite (cheaper than the DOC one, which was fully booked) Full water proofs on, not from the rain but from the sand flies. Nasty bastards.
    They had a bar, so walked up the hill to find amazing views and a fridge full of cold beers. Lovely.
    Back down to play some cards and chat with some of the others. Having pizza bread dipped in beans. Tssk, ohh sir.

    Day 3
    On the river by about 7.45am as we needed to be at the pick up point by 1.30.
    The guides said that there was some mega rapids on the last day. So was quite looking forward to them. Pretty exciting when we did hit them with the boat 1/4 filling with water. Tempting to run them again, but did a drone whilst others went through to see if there were any capsizers. No luck.
    Made it to the pickup point and was greeted by a chocolate muffin. After an hour and a half drive, with views of mount doom, we were reunited with the van. Good little adventure.
    Next step, onwards towards the Tongariro crossing.
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  • Day69

    Tama lake walk

    December 7, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    We were due to do the Tongariro crossing. Our bus was meant to leave at 4.50 which meant a very early 4.15am start for breakfast and faffing.
    Got to the bus and the driver gave us the low down for the day. He said that it was 80% likely that we would see nothing due to cloud and that it would be a minus 8 wind chill with 60kph wind gusting 80.
    He asked if anyone wanted to get off the bus and try another day.
    One brave couple put up their hands, which then allowed the rest of us to also do the same. In the end, everyone got off the bus.
    Instead he recommended the Tama lake walk, still 6 hours but not as high up, so better weather. He suggested we go straight away, as we were already up.
    So we fought off the urge to go back to bed and drove to the start of the walk. We were on the trail by 5.30am. It was a lot like Dartmoor, cold, windy and only about 40m visibility from mist and cloud.
    We only saw another 2 couples all the way to the top.
    As we got to the top, the clouds started to part and we got some sunshine. Still very windy on the high ridge with great views over the upper and lower lakes.
    Very slippery underfoot from the small volcanic round stones.
    The weather got better and better as we walked back to the town where the camper was parked. Once back we made a plan to head to lake Taupo about an hour north. As the weather was still not looking good enough to do the crossing for the next few days. 15 mins in and it was bed time! Couldn't stay awake so we both had a nap in the back for an hour.
    Cruised up to the main town to find a non existent camera shop and then found a campervan site on the edge of the lake for wine, noodles and an early night.
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  • Day41

    Day 41/72: sledging and Tongariro

    December 7, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 11 °C

    We woke up, as promised by Peter (who ran the campsite) with a loaf of warm bread outside the door. It was wonderful. After the fun of rafting the day before we had signed up to do sledging with the same company. It was just me and Tom and 2 guides in a group, and we hiked to the same stretch of river that we had rafted the day before, only just below the huge waterfall. We watched a few rafts come down the waterfall: one flipped over and no one managed to hold on. Amateurs.

    Then we jumped in the water with our sledges and flippers and kicked our way down the huge rapids. It was so much fun, diving under the rapids and getting pulled around. Our guides pushed us into the insane bits of the waterfalls and cruised ahead to catch us when we eventually got spit out.

    At the end of the stretch of river they announced we were going to do some river surfing. This involves going straight for the rapid from underneath, and balancing on the bit where the water falls down the short waterfall on your sledge. Absolutely great, and we both nailed the flip the first time, something the guides were impressed with.

    One near drowning incident and one swollen and huge nose (Toms- very amusing) later, we got back on the bus and headed back to our van. After buying Tom a bag of peas to put on his face, we started the drive to Tongariro: the mountain area we are walking from tomorrow to do the Alpine Crossing. The drive was beautiful; going past Lake Taupo and the mountains in the background.

    When we got to the campsite we both decided to go for a shorter walk to warm up for tomorrow, so headed out on the trails to a waterfall about 2 miles away. The trail was beautiful and the sky was blue and cloudless.

    After a huge dinner, we settled in early for the night. Another action packed day ahead of us!
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  • Day61

    Stressful research

    January 6 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    We booked 3 nights in this town as it would give us a bit of flexibility with when we would do the Tongariro crossing. This turned out to be a useful decision as we were told rather immediately that it wasn't going to happen the first full day we'd spend here. The winds were too powerful, but according to the forecasts it was going to get a bit better the next day. Fingers crossed. We had a lazy morning but also wanted to do some research on our future plans in New Zealand as we didn't have any accommodation or transportation booked after this town. Due to our indecisiveness this became a stressful process. To make the day a bit more fun we had lunch in the local takeaways and played some pingpong in between. Still took us a lot more time to research from then on,
    and only late in the evening we finished what we wanted. Good news: we heard the shuttle bus is planned for the next morning, so we were now completely in hike preparation mode.
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  • Day39

    Zeroday

    December 8, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 20 °C

    War ich froh, dass ich heute Nacht ein Dach über dem Kopf hatte- es hat mal wieder tüchtig gestürmt und geregnet. Trotzdem ich hätte ausschlafen können, war ich kurz nach 6h wach. Also startete ich die Planung für die nächsten Tage:
    Wieviel Tage brauche ich für die Tongariro-Überquerung?
    Wann bin ich am Einstiegsort für die Kanutour?
    Wie lang sind die täglichen Distanzen? Höhenmeter?
    Wo kann ich campen?
    Nachdem ich mir alles zusammengesucht hatte, stand der Plan. Am 15.12. könnte ich mit dem Kanu starten.

    Nach einem Kaffee und einer Pie machte ich mich auf den Weg zur i-sight. Der nette Typ nahm meine Wünsche in Empfang und fing an zu organisieren. Auch die Übernachtungen während der Kanutour müssen vorgebucht werden 😳
    Am Ende war der Plan wie folgt:
    Start der Kanutour am 16.12. zusammen mit einer Gruppe von 6 Leuten, am 18. Ankunft in Pipiriki (😂). Am 19. geht es dann 64km mit dem Fahrrad weiter (Rucksack wird transportiert) bis Whanganui. Meinen Proviant für die Bootsfahrt kann ich heute bis 14h abgeben (er wird dann mit dem Kanu geliefert) und morgen um 6.45h werde ich abgeholt zur Sicherheitseinweisung. Wow 😅

    Den restlichen Tag verbrachte ich mit Proviant kaufen und Füsse schonen. Der Regen hat mittlerweile aufgehört, ab morgen soll es wieder schön werden.

    Meine beiden deutschen Herren, Olaf und Jörg, sind zufällig auch hier gelandet. Jasmin ebenfalls. Wir werden heute Abend noch zusammen Essen gehen.
    Im Ort habe ich eine weitere TA-Hikerin getroffen, die zufällig zu der Kanutruppe am 16. dazugehört 😃. Die Welt ist so klein. 😉
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  • Day42

    Tongariro Crossing

    December 11, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Heute Nacht war ich schlauer: ich hatte eine Fliesmütze auf und das war auch gut so. Als ich die Zelttür aufmachen wollte, rieselte das gefrohrene Wasser runter 😳

    Um 7.39h war ich am nördlichen Start der Tongariro - Überquerung- eines der Highlights, auf die ich mich besonders gefreut habe . Die meisten laufen von Süden nach Norden, weil diese Richtung weniger Aufstieg und mehr Abstieg hat (hab ich 2006 auch so gemacht). Der TA geht andersherum, so dass mir die ganzen Menschen entgegen kommen...

    Los gings auf 700m und das Ende ist bei 1.100m. Der höchste Punkt ist bei 1.868m, der Red Crater. Das Wetter war fantastisch - blauer Himmel, Sonnenschein. Der erste Teil ging durch schönen Wald, viele Stufen und gepflegte Wege. Dann trat man heraus und sah die 3 Vulkane. Der kleinste ist der Tongariro, dann kommt Mt. Doom (Ngauruhoe} mit 2.291m (letzte Aktivität 1977) und der größte ist der Ruapehu mit 2.797m (letzte Eruption 2007). Heute blieb aber alles ruhig 😉

    Die Ausblicke waren jedenfalls beeindruckend. Dazu kamen dann noch die 4 Gletscherseen mit verschiedenen Farben und der blaue Himmel. Da hat man die ganzen Mühen des Aufstiegs vergessen. Der mieseste Teil war die steile Geröllpiste, die zum Red Crater führt. Die ganzen Leute von der anderen Richtung kamen mir entgegen und schlitterten oder rutschten den Berg runter- lustig 😁
    Dieses Mal konnte man auch richtig in den Krater hineinschauen. Beim letzten Mal war der Wind zu stark und Wolken dort oben... Wie bereits gesagt, alles perfekt.

    Danach begann der Abstieg mit dem Durchqueren des Hauptkraters und dann durch Mondlandschaften nach unten. 14.30h war ich am Mangatepopo Hut, mußte aber noch 9km bis Whakapapa zum Holidaypark.
    (Whakapapa - sprich Facka-Papa 😂😂😂)

    Die letzten 9km waren nochmal richtig anstrengend nach den ganzen Höhenmetern, aber kurz vor 17h war ich dann endlich da und gönnte mir ein Bett. Heute Nacht ist es hier wahrscheinlich noch kälter (1.100m)...

    Das Abendessen nehme ich standesgemäß im Tongariro Castle ein mit grünen Muscheln und einem Glas Wein . Ein bisschen Luxus darf schon mal sein 😀
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  • Day43

    Handyempfang

    December 12, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Wundert Euch nicht, wenn Ihr ein paar Tage nichts vion mir hört. Ich verlasse jetzt die Zone mit Handyempfang. Am 16. geht es auf den Whanganui River für 3 Tage und dann noch 1 Tag mit dem Fahrrad und dann melde ich mich wieder 😃
    Liebe Grüße

  • Day49

    Whanganui (3}

    December 18, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

    Trotz des Regens hab ich gut geschlafen, keiner hat geschnarcht 😉

    Draussen war alles aufgeweicht. Der Fluss war über Nacht extrem angestiegen und Bäume trieben im braunen Wasser. Unsere Boote schwammen im Fluss, die Seile, mit denen sie befestigt waren, waren unter Wasser.

    Der Zeltplatzwart kam gegen 7.30h und teilte uns mit, dass wir nicht auf den Fluss dürfen und gegen Mittag mit einem Jetboot abgeholt werden. Vorher sollten wir aber unsere Boote an Land ziehen und leer machen. Leichter gesagt, als getan: Das Ufer war schlammig und total aufgeweicht. Die ganze Gruppe zog ihre nassen Sachen von gestern wieder an und die Schwimmwesten und ging runter zum Ufer. An ein Boot kamen wir heran und 2 fuhren mit dem Boot zu denen weiter draussen. Sie schnitten die Seile durch und wir zogen sie mit dem Boot wieder an Land, eins nach dem anderen.

    Danach war ich wieder klitschnass, weil es die ganze Zeit geregnet hat. Ich spülte den Matsch ab und zog trockene Sachen an. Meine Füße fühlte ich nicht mehr. Zum Glück gab es 100m bergauf eine Lodge und zu meinem Entzücken hatten sie einen Kaminofen an und es gab warmen Kaffee und Tee. Nachundnach fanden sich alle dort oben ein.

    Um 12h kam das Jetboot. 7 Leute + je 2 Fässer passzen rein. Die Fahrt war toll trotz Regens. Von allen Seiten kamen Wasserfälle herunter, vermutlich wird dad Wasser weiter steigen. Nach 28km legten wir in Pipiriki an und im Camp gab es sogar noch ein Bunkbett. Ich bin mit den beiden Kiwis (Robyn und Martin) in einer Cabin und wir fahren morgen auch zusammen die 77km bis Whanganui mit dem Rad. Unere Rucksäcke werden transportiert.

    Am Ende wird alles gut 😂

    Jetzt gibt es erstmal was zu Essen und dann wird Wäsche gewaschen 😃
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Ruapehu District, Ruapehu-Distrikt, District de Ruapehu, Distretto di Ruapehu, Daerah Ruapehu, Ruapehu, ضلع رواپیہو

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