Wow, it’s been a crazy few days of activities and partying….and so much fun! Lake Taupo is beautiful. The first night we arrived we went on a ‘booze cruise’ which was on a little boat with Mike the skipper. We brought our own alcohol and cranked the tunes up – Mike asked if someone wanted to take control of the boat whilst he set up the fishing rods and shooting a bottle with a rifle off the back of the boat. I volunteered to be skipper and ended up steering the boat for about half an hour! He was like “yeah just head for that red-roofed house on the shore line….it’s easy” and every now and again he’d shout out “Louise, we need to go about 20 degrees left”. It was pretty fun using the tiller and looking at the contour map….
They caught some quite big fish – apparently the earlier group hadnt caught anything – unfortunately one of the fish splashed blood over one of the guys who was wearing a pristine white jumper. Nice. I was quite glad to be steering the boat and not watching the fishing – im such a girl when it comes to anything dying! We saw some really cool Maori carvings in the rock – we thought they were pretty old but it turned out they were done in 1980! Still impressive though. We docked back in shore at about 10pm which was a good thing as we had to be up at 5am the next day for our walk across the Tongariro alpine crossing which is one of the things I’ve been most excited about doing.
I felt surprisingly fresh when I woke up (even after having virtually a whole bottle of prosecco to myself the night before) – a few people very nearly missed the bus! We started the walk at 7am and were so lucky with the weather, the few days before they hadn’t been able to do it as it was too misty. We had a really clear day although it was pretty chilly and incredibly windy at times – it almost knocked me over at one point – luckily not on the ridge! I was glad I had lots of layers on.
The walk was quite strenuous in places and there was a chain to help you up at one point. The scree slope heading down towards the crater lakes was pretty tough too-I was beginning to wish I had proper walking boots. But my trainers did the job. These trainers have been gathering so much attention throughout my trip so far – I guess you can’t really miss them! Even after walking through wet autumn leaves in Virginia, Halloween carnage in New Orleans and now scree slopes in Tongariro they have remarkably kept their luminosity.
The first part of the walk was quite bleak and like moonscape and then we got over the ridge and the crater lakes were absolutely stunning-the turquoise water really stood out against the brown volcanic rock. It then got progressively more green again the other side as we walked back towards the lake. It took us about 6 hours in total and was well worth the 5am start!
We got back, went to Pita Pit for dinner ( I never realised it was a New Zealand brand) and then headed to Elements, the bar attached to our hostel. And drinks being $5 each (about £2.20) it turned into a bit of a messy night….we ended up stumbling into bed at about 3am, having been up nearly 24 hours by this point! We went to the hot springs the next day (which was a 45 minute walk), bathed in them for a bit and then I lay down on the grass and then unsurprisingly was literally dead to the world in about 2 minutes! I woke up feeling like I was coming round from a tranquilliser I was that tired. It was quite sad saying goodbye to our bus!
But we’ll catch them all up in Wellington….and to be honest I think we needed a chilled day that finished with an amazing pizza 🙂