Next morning we were off to Roturua after a brief look at Mt Manganuie. We spent a few hours at the Te Puia thermal park, cultural centre and the world famous Pohutu Geyser.

 

In the afternoon we moved on to Lake Taupo, stopping to look at Haka Falls

 

Our motel room for the next 2 nights looked straight out over Lake Taupo

Did the walking track from Taupo back to Haka Falls along the Waikato River and enjoyed a relax in the hot spring on the riverside at the end.

Kayaked through 20 knot winds and 1/2 meter chop around to what we thought were ancient Maori rock carvings only to find they were done in 1976. Very impressive though. Our guide Matt was good value, giving us lots of info on the local customs and history.

It was even rougher going back so we dressed up in all the gear.

Then off again in the afternoon to Tongariro National Park to do the Alpine Crossing Walk; rated as one of the top ten day walks in the world.

In Whakapapa the Tongariro Chalet was a bit too posh for us so we checked into the close by Skotel Ski Lodge for 3 nights which proved an excellent choice. The area is dominated by Mt Ruapehu behind the Chalet and we had the active volcano Mt Ngauruhoe as our view from our room at the Skotel

We arranged bus transport to the beginning of the walk at 1100 meters and set off with about 200-300 others. No fat tourists here! The weather was forcast to close in after 3.00pm so we were advised to go hard early.

Then started our ascent through the lava fields

Up to Red Crater. The highest point we reached at 1900 meters

Across the ridge past Mt Tongariro

Looking down on Blue Lake in the distance

Then down to the Emerald Lakes

Past Blue Lake

Then began our descent on the other side as the clouds slowly rolled in.

 

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