Mist, Wind, Rain, Mud, More Wind
14.02.2012 - 18.02.2012
The next stop on our tour of the North Island was Tongariro National Park; Famous for the best 1 day walk in New Zealand. Unfortunately when we arrived the weather was less than ideal, and it didn’t get much better the following day. However we were up at 7 ready to go on the shuttle, and with the weather forecast not looking any better for the next day, we decided to just go for it. So the shuttle dropped us off at 7.30 with the promise to pick us up the other side at 4. The walk was relatively OK for the first hour or so, before we started heading up into the clouds. What followed was pretty much hours of trudging through mist, wind and rain, with pretty much no visibility. However we reached the end eventually (after actually having a relatively good section of walk through some forest with a nice river) hoping to find some sort of café to warm up and have a hot chocolate or something, but we were met with pretty much a bus shelter in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately the walk had taken us just less than 5 hours, so we then had to stand outside in our wet clothes for another 3 or so hours to wait for the shuttle… and as sods law dictates, every day since then has been glorious sunshine. Sigh.
After our relatively unsuccessful visit to the national park, we then drove down to Whanganui (pretty much just to have somewhere to stop before Wellington) and had a go at pretending to be civilized by going to a museum and an art gallery. After a night there, we then made our way toward Wellington, stopping off along the way to do some quad biking (to cover ourselves in dirt and even out pretending to be civilized the day before)
The reserve we did the biking in was pretty huge and we covered a lot of ground on our bikes, alternating between easy tracks and more challenging trails which included lots of mud, holes filled with water mixed with tree roots and generally uneven ground. After driving for a couple of hours, stopping at a nice view point, and discovering you can get a quad bike through surprisingly tough terrain, we headed back to be have some tea and scones (therefore becoming civilized once more).
We are now staying in Wellington with Nathan’s Brothers Girlfriend Brother (a suitably vague link…) and looking around at what the city had to offer (other than a lot of windy weather) until our ferry to the South Island on the 21st of Feb.