A Travellerspoint blog

Taupo

sunny 18 °C

12th April

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.

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13th April

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.

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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.

14th April

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.

Posted by Stefan.m 16:23 Archived in New Zealand

Wellington

semi-overcast 17 °C

10th April - 11th April

Wellington is right at the bottom of the north island and is the countries capital city. Its fairly big given the size of other New Zealand cities, but is also small for a capital city, you could walk round most of it in a day. Went to the Te Papa museum in the morning, its free and has about 6 floors with plenty to see. They have displays on how the land of New Zealand was formed as well as the history of its inhabitants. Another floor has Maori exhibits, the indigenous New Zealand people, showcasing their culture and carvings. The museum also has the only preserved colossal squid on show to the public.
Afterwards I just walked around the city taking a few photos. Discovered fast free wifi (not something seen very often) by the water front. Went to look at the 'Beehive' building, one of Wellington's government buildings (I think). Over two days I feel I saw the majority of Wellington, its a nice city packed into a small place. Its also a very windy city. The hostel also had free bagels monday morning which I hadn't had before, they were nice.

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Posted by Stefan.m 16:15 Archived in New Zealand

Picton and the ferry

sunny 18 °C

8th April

Arrived midday in Picton and met up with Catherine again, we both happened to cross as I head for the north island and she the south island. Walked into the small town and had lunch before walking along the sea front. (Didn't take any photos, I forgot). Was quite a hot and sunny day, for the south island. Just hung around the hostel in the evening and watched a film.

Heading North
9th April

Woke to the Picton hostels free breakfast! Toast, cereals and home made cheese scones. Got dropped off at the ferry terminal for the 1pm ferry. Its the only way to get between the two islands, unless you're flying. Its a 3 hour journey and is like a plane journey in that you have to check in your bags and pick them up after arriving. The ferry is pretty big, it has a cinema and various bars and shops. We left the southern cold grey day and arrived to a clear sunny day in Wellington. Collected my backpack and got the shuttle bus to the train station. From here I had to get another bus to the hostel. But I eventually made it. Arrived in time for dinner.

Posted by Stefan.m 16:12 Archived in New Zealand

Nelson

sunny 20 °C

6th April

A late start to my first full day in Nelson. Made some lunch and walked into town. Nelson is one of the larger cities on the south island, along with Dunedin and Christchurch. It also gets more sun as its in the north. Found somewhere to sit and have lunch. Afterwards I walked over to the 'centre of NZ'. Its a twenty minute walk up a steep hill to reach a look out point over the whole city, this point is also recognised as the geographical centre of New Zealand. A point once used for trigonometrical surveys. There's a large metal pole indicating the centre. Afterwards just walked back across town and picked up some food on the way back to the hostel.

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7th April

Not much happening today. Got all my washing down and briefly went into town again. Tomorrow I will be leaving for a night in Picton, before taking the ferry the next day over to Wellington. The beginning of the north island.

Posted by Stefan.m 21:20 Archived in New Zealand

Hokitika

semi-overcast 16 °C

3rd April

A few hours by bus up to Hokitika, only passing through. Arrived midday and had to walk 2 Km with all my bags to get to the hostel. Did make it though. Despite still being tired I made use of the hostels free bikes and went back into town to have a look around. Its a coastal town famous for its jade, a type of green stone that's carved. Not the biggest town. Got back just before the torrential rain started. Its a nice small hostel by the beach. You can sit in the kitchen area and watch the sun set over the sea while being kept warm by the log fire.

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4th April

The torrential rain continued today, so I was mostly stuck indoors all day. Had to go out in the rain eventually to get some food supplies. Was still nice to relax a bit after the busy past week.

5th April

My bus from Hokitika wasn't until 11.30am so I got to look around town a bit more. Its a much sunnier day so there were good views of the southern apls in the distance. Just walked around and took some photos, also looked in the jade factory while waiting, you can watch them carve and paint the stones. Bus eventually arrived and it was a seven hour trip to Nelson, stopping at a couple of places for photos. Arrived in Nelson in the evening.

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Posted by Stefan.m 21:13 Archived in New Zealand

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