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Tongariro Weekend Trip –
Well what a weekend. I am sitting here on Monday morning absolutely reveling at the weekend that was. Fun and excitement was paired with triumphs and tribulations and the ultimate goal, the Tongariro crossing was completed by everyone in our group.
Yes it was Student Trips weekend down to the Tongariro crossing and we all had an absolutely amazing experience. Meeting at town on Friday at 6:30 we quickly introduced ourselves to the crew that were going to be joining us for the weekend and we were away. With people from all over the world it is always safe to say you will meet some amazing people and amazing cultures, and this trip was no different. From Dutchies to Germans, Hungarians, English and Kiwis there were people joining from all corners of the world. With a quick stop at Huntly for food and of course alcohol we then continued the sing along soundtrack down to National Park (thanks for the song choices Daniel and Ronald).
Walking up early on the Saturday we were all prepared for the 19.4 kilometre walk over Mordor and Mount Doom. With a low cloud and a little wind unfortunately we were unable to see Mount Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom) but that just added to the mystic of our walking into a completely unknown landscape. Starting at the Mangatepopo car park we walked up an old glacial valley towards Devils staircase and Soda springs. The initial walk was relatively flat and an nice easy way of warming up from the chilly start to the morning. From here we stopped as a group before climbing the Devils staircase. With a hard climb up a steep section of track, we all made it up in good time. The group i was walking with decided to stop for some food tucked in behind a rock sheltered from the wind and it was a pleasant place to rest. We took a lot of photos before deciding we got a bit cold and needed to carry on. With another steep section of track we made it to the highest point of the Tongariro crossing the Red crater at 1886 meters high. I would like to say this was halfway but i would be wrong. The scree slope was to come and lead down towards the Emerald lakes. These are amazing lakes with beautiful colours in all lights. The outlook beyond the lakes could well be moon landscape and the rock and grey colours is leads to a strong contrast. Downhill the rest of the way we passed the the Ketetahi hut and saw the effects that nature can have on manmade structures. A rock had crashed through the roof destroying a couple of rooms of the hut, also a huge crater had been formed right outside.
Making it to the end of the track was a great triumph, thinking we were the last to finish we were surprised when others arrived after us having completed the summit of Tongariro. With a lot of sore bodies we bussed back to the hotel a warm soak to relieve the muscles was just what we needed and we all jumped into the spa pools. Dinner and Drinks rounded off the night. The Bi annual Student Trips sandbagger competition was set up in the Bar and was won by none other than Ronald A. Congratulations.
Eggs for brekkie and a quick trip over to Taupo said (Toe Paw) saw the 4 jumpers (Anna, Anita, Ruben and Haydon) stress out and in some cases lose the plot before there jump. A large scream by Anna got the Doves circling and amazing footage of Rubens jump can be found on Instagram. The next stop the natural hot pools down by the river were yet another great way to relieve our muscles from the day before and some of us even had the courage to swim out into the freezing cold waters of the Waikato river. The Huka falls or (Foam Falls) was the next stop. An amazing waterfall funnelling 200,000 litres a second got its name because of all the air that mixes with water causing amazing colours and a foam effect. Driving back to Auckland is always upsetting but there is always the next weekend to look forward too!
To join this trip and more be sure to see our website at http://www.studenttrips.co.nz