When we started planning our New Zealand adventure, one of the top things on our list was the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Not bungee jumping, not sky diving, not jet boats nor zorbs. Instead it was a 19.4 km hiking trek that drew us to Taupo.
We arrived in Taupo on January 30th and had three nights booked at Tiki Lodge, our hostel for a few days. We had already booked a round trip bus fare for Tuesday to provide transport between our hostel and the crossing.
Tuesday started early with a 5:50 am bus pickup, then a drive to the start of the hike. We were given a map with timelines on when we should be at major points and also some slight threats on our bus home not waiting for us if we took too long.
We had made some friends on the bus, Justin and Mark, so we started the hike with them. Mark lives in Auckland and had done this hike before, while Justin was visiting New Zealand from Canada. We trekked with them for awhile before they left to summit Mount Ngauruhoe (aka Mount Doom). We bid them farewell, wished them luck on the steep climb and vowed to meet up for drinks soon.
The hike went through so many different changing climates and views; it was spectacular. We spent the second half of the hike with Zoey, a sweet girl from the UK that was staying at our hostel. We took turns snapping photos, laughing as we fell, swapping stories and adding and removing layers of clothing.
All in all, the trek took us right at 7 hours with minimal stops to gobble up sandwiches, fruit and drink lots of water. We definitely made time to stop and soak it all in and take photos for everlasting memories.
We were wiped out on the return trip back to our hostel and had a quiet evening relaxing.
The next day, with sore feet and legs, we decided to take it easy and walk to Huka Falls, which is a long group of beautiful blue rapids in Taupo. We laughed on our way because what we thought would we a leisurely walk turned into quite a hilly one, but as is typical here in New Zealand, it was full of beautiful scenery.
Walking back from the falls, we stopped at some hot springs to take a dip in the warm water (in hopes that it would feel good for our worn out muscles). There was quite a crowd there, and we saw a couple floating around on an air mattress… hey, whatever works, right?!
Another post coming soon…All about our time in Napier visiting Kerry’s friend, Mandy!
~Kerry & Jenny