Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way...

Trip Start Oct 26, 2008
Trip End Jan 13, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas was getting closer and closer without u noticing it. We weren't really in a christmas mood, you don't get that feeling in the middle of the summer far away from your familywhen you're used to something else. We did have a reservation though at a hotel in Tongarir National Park where we were to spend the christmas days. But before coming to the hotel we still had a few days to sped. We stayed in Palmerston North after arriving with the ferry. Here we spent the whole evening driving around in the biggest wind park in the southern hemisphere. There were no official visitor centre, we just drove around for hours on a small gravel road far away from everything. But there were some really good views from up there. We drove to Taihape and the Rangitikei River the ext day cause I wanted to use my voucher that I got from Ben for my birthday. I was about to go bungy jumping over the river from a small bridge 80 m above, the highest bungy jump on the North Island. I have to admait that I was just a tiny bit nervous but also very excited. Everything went really quick. I was led onto the bridge (I didn't look down one single time), secured and tied to the thickelastic. It was a scary feeling cause the rope was dragging me towards the edge, butthe instructor kept telling me that she was holding on to me, and if she wasn't I made sure to have a firm grip of her hand. She just said 3-2-1 BUNGY and then I just jumped, I thought I'd better just get it over with. Everybody told me afterwards that I gave a nice big scream, and I think it's also documented on th film. It was a really cool feelling just falling free for a few seconds until the rope tightened and m body was stretched out amybe growing 2 cm longer.  would do it again immediately, the rush you gt out of it is just the best!
We drove on to the town National Park in Tongariro NP were we stayed on the tent site next to a hostel. The nex day we started walking the Northern Circuit from Whakapapa (pronounced fa-ka-pa-pa). The weather was perfect for the walk, it has to be clear and sunny cause you walk in 1400 m to 1800 m above sea level through volcanoes and craters that you otherwise wouldn't be able to see.We had only planned on walking 9 km the first day andthen the last 20 km the next day, but because the weatherso good we decided to continue and walk 12 km more (good thing we did cause the next day it was pouring down). The first track was so incredibly bad with soil erosions and slippy mud and I fell at least 3 times, but the last 12 km were  better cause hundreds of people walk this bit everyday.
This bit is called the Crossing and takes you in between two volcanoes, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro both still active, across craters and past hot pools. It was an amazing tour and we were extremely lucky with the wether. It did smell of rotten eggs around the pools but you kind of got used to that. We stayed at the Ketetahi hut onthier tentsite and in the night it got really windy and the rain poured down. We both had trouble sleeping because of the noise from the rain and the cold but we got through the night knowing that we wuld be sleeping in a beatiful otel the next day. We stayed in the hut till noon waiting for the rain to ease down. We got the bus ack to Whakapapa after walking 9 km in rain and in Whakapapa the great chateau awaited us. We must have looked a bit funny when walkng ino the hotel, with dripping dirty boots nd clothes and a tent that we needed to dry, but they were very nice to us and we could hang the tent in the drying room which they normally use in th ski season. It was so nice to ave your own room with a clean bathroom  and even tv and minibar, and a pool and sauna in the cellar. We had dinner in the restaurant, the Ruapehu Room.
We slep in the next morning and had breakfast served in our room.  Attached to the hotel thre was also a 9 hole golfcourse, the highest lying golfcourse in NZ, and a tnns court. Ben had his first goat playing golf and it went really well. We played all nine holes and he's definitely got talent.
In the evening we had booked the christmas dinner at he together with many other people. There was a huge buffet with oysters, sushi, salads, turkey and 50 other things to choose, and at the same there was live piano music. We didn't want to leave the hotel, it was so nice to have you own double room but it was also expensive so we said bye bye chataeu on boxing day and left fo Taupo.
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