Mt. Doom

Trip Start Oct 03, 2012
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Trip End Feb 01, 2013


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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Sunday, February 3, 2013

Our three nights in Taupo could have been nice and relaxing, except that it was the weekend and our room was surrounded by pubs and clubs that have live music until 3am. Sigh. The best was probably when after the bars closed some boys staying in the hostel came and pounded on our door (and all the others on our floor) about 5 times in 20 minutes. I wish they would have come around once more, so they could have gotten a bucket of water in the face! So as you can imagine we were pretty tired when we got up at 5am to go hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.  We arrived at the National Park at 7am, and were finished the 19 km hike by 2pm.  It was stunning hiking all around Mt. Ngauruhoe (also known as Mt.Doom) and the landscape looked like it belonged on Mars.   There are also two beautiful lakes viewable from the summit, Emerald Lake and Blue Lake.  The volcano was active when we were there so unfortunately we weren't allowed to hike the usual one way track and we had to turn back at the half way point.  We were also a little bit over prepared, and could have lasted for 3 days with the food and water we trekked in!  It was a bit of a treacherous climb, especially on the way back down with all the loose rock, but it was definitely worth it.

We also spent one lovely afternoon soaking in the Waikato River at the Spa Park, where a (boiling) hot river runs into the cold Waikato River.  You just have to find your sweet spot, where it isn’t too hot or cold!

From Taupo we drove a few hours over to River Valley Adventure Lodge.  This is a very special place, nestled right on the river famous for rafting and horse trekking. However we spent our time there swimming in the beautiful river, where they even have a scary looking pulley cart to get across.  The lodge also had amazing food, served at one giant long table Hogwarts Style.  Tables which we used later to play some epic rounds of beer pong and other such fun games.  It would be a nice place to spend a little more time relaxing in, but sadly we only had one night before heading further south. There are so many places we will have to return to one day! But for now onwards to Wellington for a brief visit with Tiffany! 
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