Sometimes one drives through New Zealand and wonders where the village is which according to the map should be right at the spot were one is - and if one is lucky one sees a house somewhere. Yeah, Kiwis seem to identify strongly with rural ways of living. We were on our way from Napier towards Taupo and we reckoned that there would be many villages coming up… but they didn’t. Which was no problem, only that we started running out of diesel. We basically let the van role down the mountains into Taupo and still made it to the petrol station.
Our next and last stop of the trip was going to be the Tongariro National Park, smack in the middle of the North Island. If you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings movies think of the mountains representing Mordor. On the top right picture you can see Mt. Ngauruhoe, a perfect volcanic cone, which you might remember as being Mt. Doom.
Here we spend the last two days of our trip hiking, and they turned out being the trips absolute highlight. We couldn’t do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, as we weren’t equipped for hiking through snow… another exciting thing to do with Clina in November; it is supposedly “the best one-day walk in NZ” (Lonely Planet). Instead we did two other spectacular hikes starting from Whakapapa. Weather conditions can change rapidly here, but we were lucky.
By the way, Whakapapa actually mean genealogy and is an important element of Maori culture.