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One does not simply walk into Mordor...

What a TRAMP!

semi-overcast 20 °C
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The Tongariro Alpine Crossing (in Tongariro National Park) is one of the, if not THE, best one-day tramps (NZ for: 'hike') in the country, and it goes through the land of Mordor. By some (Boromir for instance) this area is feared: "Its black gates are guarded by more than just orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep, and the Great Eye is ever watchful. It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash and dust, the very air you breathe is a poisonous fume. Not with ten thousand men could you do this. It is folly."
But this is a bit exaggerated, yes it is true that it is a barren wasteland, in that there is not much growing in this volcanic area, and it is indeed partly covered in ash. But we made it through, not poisoned, we did not see many orcs (but then again, we did not come through the gates either...), and it took only a few busloads. It was NOT folly, it was jolly (good)!
(This was of course written by Judith, so Ipa's note to the un-knowing: She's talking about Lord of the rings and that mountain where that hobbit went with the ring (or something like that..) ;) )

The tramp took seven hours, and all the guides (books and tourist office) were saying how heavy it is and that everyone should be well prepared. But yeah, either we are in top shape or new zealanders tend to exaggerate a bit :) The first two hours were quite a steep climb at times, but it was definitely not the climb that had us struggling. Just before starting the tramp the guide in our bus reminded everyone: "Today the wind will be your enemy up there, people!" and we thought that she can't be too serious -but she definitely was! While climbing up the highest ridge we sometimes felt like blowing away, literally. Otherwise than that we had quite a nice walk, except for one part where an avalanche had wiped the path away. But we managed even that! (This was of course written by Ipa, since Judith didn't find the wind at all too hard, even though I (Judith now) did expect it to be hard, when the lady of the tour said it about three times on the way there I took it quite serious, but it was nice and windy!)
Us and Mount Doom
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That's where we went too
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The Emerald lakes in the muntains
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Judith and Jessica, who tagged along for the day
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Happy end :)
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We undertook the Mount Doom expedition from Taupo, a small city at Lake Taupo (biggest Lake in NZ) where we were headed after our WWOOFing in Gisborne. On the way from Gisborne to Taupo we stopped in some nice places (including hot springs, where we could bathe, mmm!) and spent a night in Napier, so far the nicest-looking city we've seen. Unfortunately we were there 'just for the night' and didn't even take one picture... But probably we will go there again some day, so we owe you one!

Near Taupo we went to a volcanic information centre (forgot the official name), where we sat in an Earthquake-simulator, and learned a bit about the Tongariro volcanoes (Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro, and Mount Ngauruhoe, a.k.a. Mount Doom). For general information, the last "eruption" of Ruapehu (also a very popular ski resort) was in 2007 -and before that in 1995 and -96, so we did check that there was no smoke coming out of it. They also had a documentary over the Christchurch earthquakes, so now we know what we might be getting into.
Also learned this small piece of information at the center: 14 000 earthquakes per year!!
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After Taupo we left off for our new WWOOF near Hastings (and near Napier), on the way we went to see the highest (39m) waterfall "Waitonga Falls" in the Tongariro National Park and we took a SUPER nice scenic route (no photographs from the scenic route unfortunately for you, but we enjoyed it A LOT).
Waitonga falls, Judy and Ipa
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And the first Kiwi sign we've seen!
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A few days ago we started WWOOFing here at 'Settler', a vineyard. So far we've been clearing shoots off the grapevines, which is fine to do (probably better than weeding), but my (Judith's) (and Ipa's too) back is starting to hurt, because the vines are only about one meter high. Besides that, also the fact that I got a major sun burn on my lower back (for the Dutchies: I burned my bouwvakkersdecolleté...) might add to the pain in/on my back ;).
Funny fact: the day I got the sunburn, the wind came from the south (meaning south pole), and besides sun we also got rain and even hail!!

But other than this, we're doing great! The people here, Evert and Steph, are nice and we get nice food and wine, yum! There is also a very nice and pretty dog here, Zola. But she is not nearly as nice as Santi... But a good substitute for now.

And the map

Posted by judipa 22:04 Archived in New Zealand Tagged tongariro crossing vineyard hike taupo alpine tramp wwoof waitonga

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Heey Judith en Ipa,
Het ziet er allemaal geweldig uit!! Veel plezier nog en hou ons op de hoogte.

Groetjes Carlo, Annelies, Lieke, Ties en Sanne

by Annelies

Finally had the time to find out what you have been up to lately, sounds and looks absolutely fabulous ;-)!! I am nog jeaulous at all in a gray, cold Netherlands :p

Have fun, enjoy and keep up the good work!

by Rien

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