New Zealand 2006 travel blog

Tongarino National Park volcanoes the evening we arrived

Tongarino NP 3rd volcano


Evening sun on volcano

Tongariro next the day

Waitomo Caves

Waitomo Caves 2

Richard at Waitomo

This magical place right in the centre of North island is made up of 3 snow capped active volcanoes and some magnificent scenery. It is the outdoor activities centre for north island - skiing, walking, rafting, climbing etc etc. When we arrived the sky was blue and the sun was shining on the volcanoes, a memorable sight. However, the weather in this area is unpredictable...... and that we found out is an understated fact.

In the morning (Sat 21st) we had intended and had organised that we would walk the Tongariro Crossing , said to be the most beautiful day walk in NZ of about 11 miles but up and over the hills taking 8hrs or so to complete. However low cloud and high winds soon put paid to that. So on advice from our hosts at the motorlodge where we were staying in the National park Village, we chose another walk, at lower altitude and just 6 hours long. We set of in the dry but within an hour the rain started and visability reduced to just 50m. But, being of British spirit, we continued on having put our wet weather gear on....... AND wasn't it needed! After 3 hours we reached our target - Lower Tama lake - well the view spot from where we were supposed to be able to see it we could see nothing except clouds - or should we say 'cloud cookoo-land'. However the good thing is that after slip sliding our way back to base when we de-robed thankfully were all dry underneath and no harm done.

The next day - today - we voluntarily changed our plans from walking again, to travelling to Waitomo Caves some 75miles north east, as the weather hadn't improved at all, in fact if anything was worse than yesterday. The caves are world famous for their gloworms and huge stalactites and stalagmites. A fantastic site and well worth the longish drive to see them. This evening enjoyed a superb roast pork cooked by our hosts and sat by their log fire comforting ourselves againgst the still wet and now cold conditions outside.

Tomorrow we want to walk again but the chances look pretty slim as the weather forceast is awful. Watch this space.

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