TaupoJuly 11, 2015 in New Zealand
Frost coated windscreens and pathways as we stepped out into the morning. Our breath fumed on the air and the thermometer read -1. Yet the sky was without a cloud and the sun gave a weak warmth to our skin. As we could not undertake the Tongariro Crossing we chose instead 'The Lions Walk', a 20km round-trip trail along the coastline of Lake Taupo southward to Five Mile Bay.
Joggers, cyclists and dog walkers passed us on the trail as the lake lapped at its shores. Steam rose off the wake as the cold water found the thermal springs beneath the sands. Such was the warmth generated by this that we saw children paddling in the shallows. Black swans with brash red beaks graced the small coves as ducks and small birds sought out food. Willows hung their empty branches as if seeking reflection from below.
In the distance, laden with a cream of snow, stood the peaks of Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe. Looking out across the vast expanse of the lake we couldn't help but wish that we were there instead. However the calm of the coastline with the slow warmth of the sun gave an illusion to the true conditions of the crossing. The last weather forecast we saw showed a wind chill of -15, only rising to -10 by the afternoon.
Stopping for a short lunch at Five Mile Bay we were soon on our way back to Taupo, which was then hidden from view by a small peninsula of land. On the return we walked into the face of the sun, which sparkled its reflection on the lake. Our legs ached and our bodies sore when we finally returned to the start of the trail. We completed it in under 5 hours, which included breaks. We may not have experienced the epic landscape of the Tongariro Crossing but we at least experienced something of the physical effort required by covering a similar distance in such a time.Read more