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Wow! What an exciting and exhausting weekend! We got off to a relaxing start when we visited the Huka falls. Standing on the bridge that overlooked the fall we were able to see more than 220.000 litres of water racing by every second.
Off we went to something even more spectacular and a tick off the bucket list for many of us… the 47-meter Taupo bungy jump/swing of course! We’ve never heard so many people screaming in one day. However, one scream was better, higher and louder than all the others – Marlien’s scream. If you can even call it that, it was more of a howl than a scream. She sounded like an animal that had been hunted! It was so much fun even if you weren’t jumping to watch and hear everyones reactions. Then it was bungy time for Elizabeth, Liesette and Rebecca. Rebecca was the first to jump. She cried, before eventually jumping and made the other jumpers a lot more nervous as a result! Elizabeth was the only one who looked pretty cool and really enjoyed the jump. Word of advice: If you are too scared to jump, then do NOT jump. That is a lesson Liesette learned. She was in shock after her jump. She cried afterwards, could not move anymore and her whole body was shaking, but again, she gave everyone a good show.
After the jump it was time to go to our luxury hotel. We were very spoiled this weekend! The rooms were amazing, we had our own hot tub and the best part: we had an unlimited buffet dinner. The food selection was awesome; pasta Bolognese, rice with vegetables, delicious garlic bread etc. Everything we needed to prepare us for the big hike we had coming up the next day! Our bus driver advised us the best time was to go early in the morning, so we could make the most of the amazing weather and get the clearest views possible. And he was right. You could see the entire mountain range – looking perfect, beautiful and a little bit daunting!
The uphill ascent towards the start was hard work! Well… at least for most of the people. The smallest girl on the trip, Yasmine, was the one who was walking in front of everybody, while Haydon and Matt were show offs; they climbed the Mt Doom! If you think the crossing itself was hard, you should have seen Mt Doom.
The Tongariro Crossing is difficult but so, so beautiful. Every section of the climb is different with different views. First we had the never-ending stairs where just as you think you can’t possibly take another step more, you’ve arrived at the top. All the water and food you have to carry makes the hike more difficult too. I mean, Kyra and Laurens bought 700 grams of nuts! How much do you think they need during the hike?! When we finally reached the top of stairs section, a few minutes walk along the flat section and you are greeted with a superb view. We saw the big Mt Doom and all the areas they had filmed the Lord of the Rings. Then there was another climbing part – this one shorter than the last, but way more difficult. At one point we even had to get on our hands and legs so as not to fall down. Of course, everything was totally worth it when we finally reached the top. As if were weren’t already out of breath, the amazing blue crater lakes took what we had left. It was so strange that there was such a peaceful place after all those rocks, stones and stairs we had to navigate. After a relaxing walk downhill we arrived at the forest section. Everyone thought that the climbing parts were exhausting but the forest is difficult too! Your knees were beginning to hurt and your thoughts start to drift to the hot tub and buffet dinner that awaited back at the hotel. When we finally heard the bus, we felt relieved, but accomplished!
It really was a beautiful hike, a hike that is simply a must-do during their time in New Zealand. Back in the hotel we were rewarded with the hot pool and at that moment, sitting in the warm water and resting our achey muscles- we all felt so good. Having completed the hike- survived the hike even! – all that was required of us was to sit in the hot tub and drink. Afterwards, we were treated to yet another buffet dinner. We ended the day with a few drinks in the hotel’s bar. Some of us got slightly drunk because of the drinking game we played. Vikram in particular when he was “sitting in the boat” (he was really bad in that game). All-in-all it was an exhausting, fun and beautiful weekend! Get the first photos here, more will follow!