Monday, August 27, 2012

Tongariro National Park

Today was a day filled of driving and short walks. After leaving our huge hotel room, we headed toward Tongariro National Park. The GPS we rented is old and doesn't like many highways, so I'm trusting to Jay's questionable navigation!

We stopped in the visitors center for a hike suggestion. Jay loved the stuffed kiwi. Meanwhile I was thrilled to do a little shopping for New Zealand made marino wool gloves.

As I mentioned yesterday, our original hike plan of the Tongariro Crossing was closed due to volcanic activity after the eruption earlier this month.

I think it worked out because we got to do the Maori experience and make it a little closer to Wellington for our ferry ride tomorrow. Instead of the 7-8 hour hike we had planned, we did a 2 hour hike to a waterfall.

The hike was very different from what we were used to. The land was all brush and very low vegetation with minimal trees, but the views were beautiful and the water was super clear.

And of course we got a glamour shot of my husband in his new leather outback hat...

Yup, king of the park.

Today was not sunny by any means, but the random cloud cover was beautiful against the snow capped mountains. It is prime ski season in Tongariro currently, making the hike a bit chilly.

Another great feature of this hike was that it went right by areas affected by lava the last time the volcano erupted in 1926. It was pretty wild to see the lava flows and the effects it had on the land scape, even almost 90 years later. The information center said that the volcano erupts once every 150-200 years.

After our hike, we got back in the car and headed on our way to Whanganui, our stopping point on our way to Wellington. We took every opportunity to pull over at scenic overlooks to catch the sun peaking through the clouds and the lambs frolicking through the fields. Apparently, we came right at the prime time for lambs!

This landscape is really awe-inspiring and beautiful, and we literally stopped at ever scenic pull-over spot there was. Now, we're off to catch the All Blacks play rugby against the Aussies. They are fierce rivals and it promises to be a good game, but first, here is a picture of Jay and his new friends at our Holiday Park. He's always making "friends"