|After leaving Waitomo on the afternoon of the 17th we made our way to Taupo. Upon entering Taupo we went for a quick walk by Huka Falls, which has the largest volume of water flow in New Zealand.
The giant lake at Taupo is actually big enough to fit Singapore in! It was formed from a volcanic eruption around 186 AD. If you stand at one side of the lake holding a piece of string and someone stands the other end, it will go under the water, this is because the lake actually curves with the earth's surface.
After being dropped at the hostel some of us relaxed, whilst a few went to see if they could skydive. Unfortunately the conditions weren't right though.
On 18th April I got up at 5am as I was a crazy person who had put her name down to do the Tongariro crossing, a 7-8 hour walk in Tongariro National Park. We set off at 7.15am. The walk starts with a nice hour along a flat part of native bushland. After the hour you have to climb the Devil's staircase, a name you truly appreciate when you are huffing and puffing your way up! My legs didn't like me very much. However, the views you get at the top are pretty good, plus you are at the base of Mout Ngauruhoe (Na-ru-hoe-e) aka Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings! During the summer, you can climb up to the top, but there was snow and ice at the top so it was deemed too dangerous when we were there. Still, just looking up at it is pretty impressive. Walking past the base of Mount Doom across the South Crater, we had another climb up to the Red Crater. Unfortunately it was really cloudy when we were up there as normally you can see from coast to coast of the North Island! Thankfully that was also the last major climb. Going down the other side we came to the Emerald Lakes, these are really pretty, but are full of sulphur, cyanide and other poisonous things so people can't swim in them, mind you it was so cold I wouldn't have wanted to anyway! Next came Blue Lake, which again you can't swim in, but looks really nice, at this point I had left anyone else I had walked with for a while as I couldn't stop for long due to fear of my legs not working if I stopped for too long! After Blue Lake the walk is pretty easy and goes through some alpine bushland and there are some spectacular views. I reached Ketatahi Hut, the last major resting spot before the completion of the Crossing at 11.45am, had some lunch and then walked the last hour and 45 minutes to the end! I finished at 1.45pm so the walk took me 6 and a half hours overall! I'm quite glad the options for climbing both Mount Doom and Mount Tongariro weren't available in hindsight, although the views from the peaks of them must be amazing.
Some people off my Kiwi bus were doing sky diving after this walk! Crazy people. I went back to the hostel and collapsed.