How come Frodo got an eagle?

So to put our minds off missing family and friends over the festive period we decided to do something super exciting, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

After a late brunch on Sunday 27th with Jono and Liza (who came up on Boxing Day to visit from Auckland) we packed up and headed down to the Tongariro National Park, stopping off at the Huka Falls on the way down.

We camped overnight (in Basil of course) at the Tongariro Holiday Park and woke for the 6:30am shuttle to take us to the Mangatepopo Car Park to start our mini adventure.

Look at that bright, fresh face! Clearly the start rather than the end.

The landscape is spectacular. Alpine environment merging with volcanic rock. Phil couldn’t ID anything either.

Starting off pretty nice and gentle. Getting progressively harder as we approached the ‘Devils  Staircase’ and the sun got up to its full glory.

After a few kilometres we decided to take the extra side track up to the summit of Mount Ngaurahoe aka Mount Doom. Now…the trek map says about the summit walk things like ‘extremely dangerous’ and ‘could find yourself in serious trouble’. But its Mount Doom innit!? Can’t not!

It was about half way up that we figured out why Frodo was so whiney…

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It was hard work, and an EXTRA 3 hours of walking/rock climbing/scrambling/sliding/falling round trip, but look…

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… totes worth it. And there was snow up top, despite the 27deg temperatures and glorious sunshine. Probably something to do with being at 2291m.

We walked along the smoking ridge and then scramled up to walk round the crater itself. Its like, a proper volcano.

And then we had to get down…

We totally understand why Frodo got an eagle pick up, and requested one,  but unfortunately there were no eagles to be seen! Anyway we were so proud of ourselves and filthy, off to complete the remaining walk, which was just beautiful.

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Unfortunately it took me a further couple of hours to remember any of the Lord of the Rings music and so subjected Phil to the Game of Thrones theme instead. Oops.

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It was a blimin’ long walk, 9 hours in total, 19.4km (plus however far our detour took us), and we looked like this at the end…

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So we stopped off at Lake Taupo on the way home…and threw ourselves in! (Most definitely recommended).

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Truly wonderful day, long day, exhausting day but brilliant all rolled into one!

 

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