12.04.2011 - 14.04.2011 18 °C
Got an early bus from Wellington to Taupo, its a fairly long journey at around 7 hours. The coach was comfortable though, making sleep a definite option. Arrived late afternoon and checked into the hostel/motel type thing, quite a nice place. That evening I booked a shuttle bus for the Tongariro alpine crossing walk the next day. Taupo is centrally located on the north island and is situated on lake Taupo. Its the largest lake in New Zealand. The lake itself is an old volcanic crater.
Had to get up at 5am to get the bus to the Tongariro national park, its the worlds second oldest national park, second only to Yellowstone in America. The walk, or hike/climb as I found out, goes up the mountain range between Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe, an active volcano. It last erupted in 1977. To begin with we walked through a valley to the first climb of the day. Named 'devil's staircase', its a combination of steep footpath and steps. Once at the top this is the highest point of the walk, from here I decided to do the extra route and walk to the summit of Mt Tongariro, itself an active volcano. I assumed every hill was the summit, until getting round the corner and seeing more track to another hill. It seemed to go on for ages, but I eventually made it to the summit... and then had to go back down to the main track again. There was also the option to climb the volcano itself, though this is only recommended for extremely fit people. I would have never made it, let alone be back in time for the bus. Descending down the parts of the track covered in 'scree' is hazardous, there's no grip and numerous people fell over, myself included.
It was worth it to see the volcanic mountain range and it was a good achievement, but I wouldn't take up mountain hiking/climbing as a hobby any time soon. My legs might not work in the morning.
As predicted my legs are destroyed and refuse to work, so I spent most of the day lazing around. Went to look around town for a bit but my legs didn't like that... hobbled back to my room.