Once in Taupo I was reunited with my brother and sister-in-law who had come to meet me with the car. Yay, we had a car! We had lunch in a favourite cafe of mine which happened to be conveniently located across the road from the bus stop meaning we didn’t have far to go. Big brother informed me that the weather as looking good for our trek tomorrow so after lunch it was time to do some shopping so I could kit myself out for some proper hill walking gear before checking in to our hostel. I was delighted to find that as well as being a nice as I remembered from my last stay our hostel had acquired a cat. I immediately attempted to adopt said cat who at first seemed happy to make himself at home on my bed but soon lost interest and wandered off.
The following day we were up before the sun and waiting outside our hostel for our shuttle to the famous Tongariro Crossing. We decided on the trip up to give Mt Doom a miss and instead walk to the top of Mt Tongariro. There was a lot of cloud cover higher up but we were hopeful it would clear as the day went on. As we started the crossing I was amused to see a steady stream of people ahead and as the day continued behind us as well. Being so famous the crossing is a popular trail and it was difficult to get a photo without a trail of people in it. At one point in my life this may have annoyed me for on this day I liked it. As well as giving a sense of scale this is what the Tongariro Crossing is: a beautiful and at times challenging walk with dozens of other people. We made it to the peak in haze of cloud. I am sure the view from the top is beautiful but at no point was the cloud accommodating enough to move and let us judge for ourselves. Despite this I was glad for the rest. I am on my feet all day 5 or 6 days a week and therefore quite fit for someone who has forgotten where her gym is. I thought I knew that this would be a challenging day but only once I was on the trail did I realise that I was using muscles I’d forgotten I owned. It was worth it though and my companions were very patient with both my inexperience and my desire to stop and take a photo every two minutes. Whilst I was still adjusting to the weirdness of my new camera I came to really appreciate the how much more convenient it was to carry. Only at the top of the trail when I had t scramble a little did I feel that I had to put it away for safety. The rest of the day I left it around my neck, something that would not have been possible with my canon.
The end of the rail was a gentle but long walk downwards and by the end of it we were all glad to see the car park. I must admit I was afraid to sit down in case I wasn't able to get up again but my legs got the final say and the ground has never felt so comfortable! After a lovely rest were back on the bus and heading back to Taupo. after some much needed showering and resting we headed to Dixie Browns, a restaurant I had been to previously and enjoyed and I am glad to say they didn't disappoint. Thier large portions were exactly what we required to help us recover from our day and they were as tasty as they were filling. Often I travel alone and I am happy to do so but it was really nice to sit down with my big brother and sister-in-law and discuss the days adventures over good food and wine. It was a brilliant start to our trip and more than ever I was looking forward to our South Island adventures.