Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Turangi and Tongariro National Park Volcanoes

It rained almost the entire drive from Wellington to Turangi, so this was the view most of the time.

Thankfully, the next day was sunny and not rainy, so we were able to enjoy Tongariro National Park and views of the three active volcanoes: RuapehuNgauruhoe, and Tongariro. The park was the first national park in New Zealand and the fourth in the world. It was gifted by the Maori people in 1887 and the summits of the volcanoes are considered sacred. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Most of the backpackers do the 6-8 hour, 12-mile hike known as the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (they usually do one-way and pay to take a shuttle back to their car). We, however, are not that fit or adventurous to do such a steep hike, so we did a 2-hour Taranaki Falls hike instead. The waterfall was beautiful and we had great views of the surrounding country along the way. 

added an "elvish" filter :)

straight out of Mario Bros., right?!
Then, we drove back to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing area and did a 30-minute hike just up to the first hut. After the clouds cleared, we saw Mt. Ngauruhoe (Mt. Doom in Lord of the Rings) in all its splendor and photographed it to death. 

hot thermal vents

cool mesa off in the distance
We were very fortunate to have such nice weather after such a bashing the day before, but you come to expect the see-sawing in New Zealand!

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