|Left Wellington by bus at 11 am to get to the Tongariro National Park - established in 1887, NZ's first national park. The name Tongariro originally covered the three mountains of the park - Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. With its mighty, active volcanoes, Tongariro is one of NZ's most spectacular parks, recently playing the role of 'Mordor' in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. I wanted to do the Tongariro Crossing, a one-day walk (6 - 7 hours) which covers the most spectacular features of the Circuit. The weather was terrible when I arrived in National Park at Howard's Lodge. Cold and rainy, snow above 1000 m - no way to walk the crossing for the next days according the forecast. I was very disappointed and called Charley in Wellington who planned on coming the next day. He did and we walked in the rain the 2 hours Silica Rapids walk from Whakapapa village, leaving in the afternoon via Lake Taupo to Rotorua and took a twin room at the modern Treks Rotorua Backpackers (66$).