Day 193: Rotorua to National Park

Trip Start Sep 21, 2006
Trip End Jun 01, 2007

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Monday, April 2, 2007

What do you call a town set up beside a national park? As the gateway to, by all accounts, New Zealand's best one-day walk and a three/four day Great Walk, I'm headed to the small town known simply as National Park.
It isn't so far from Rotorua but requires four separate bus journeys. The buses pass a grazing land of domes, plantations of 15-year-old pines now being cut down to be replaced by more profitable dairy farms, and skirt the banks of New Zealand's largest lake, Taupo, a crater lake over 300m above sea level.
The penultimate bus stops to pick up exhausted one-day trekkers at Ketetahi, the end of the Tongariro Crossing trail. There are a dozen buses waiting. The mountain beyond smoulders from vents on its slopes.
I arrive in National Park by late afternoon.
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