Since we wanted to do the Tongariro crossing on Thursday, we decided it would be good to practice a little. Therefore we did the Great Lake walk along Lake Taupo today. It was about 22 kilometres, so we hiked for 6 hours. When we arrived to the car we were sore, but at least now we know we can probably (hopefully) walk for 8 hours as well. We also booked the ferry in advance, because almost every day was fully booked during Christmas time and after! Something to keep in mind for the future: plan ahead 🙂
In the morning we took it slow and stayed in the hostel to enjoy the good WiFi a little longer. Around 13.30 we took off (we were supposed to be gone at 10.00. Oops…). We went to a free campsite close to Huka Falls. Of course we walked to the Huka Falls as well. In 5 seconds we saw a million litres of ice blue water gushing past us, it was impressive to see. In the evening we prepared ourselves for the big hike.
The alarm went off at 06.15 and we jumped out of bed. We ate a nutritious breakfast (porridge à la Mirte), prepared food, checked the bags and drove off as fast as we could (since we were late (as usual)). Luckily the 08.30 shuttle bus was willing to hold on a little longer and we made it (running) :). Before and during the hike they made us believe it would be hell. E.g. 8 hour walk, super exhausting/hard and you would need a bulk load of food and water. Simply said: just for experts. Expecting the worst we began our journey into Mordor. It was gorgeous from the start and became even prettier along the way. The landscapes differed, from black volcanic mountains with blinding white snow to emerald lakes and from blood red craters to panoramic valley views. After 6 hours and 20 minutes we were already at the end. Let’s be honest though, of course we were tired, but they exaggerated the level of this hike. In conclusion: two fit girls have enough expertise for this amazing top 10 world walk.
Today we exchanged the primitive life for a little more luxury. We went from the free campsite in Taupo to a family holiday park in Napier. We’ve never been so happy to be able to do the dishes and have drinkable water before. To use the river water at the free campsite we had to boil it first. The rest of the day we didn’t do much but just relaxed, took a looong shower and enjoyed our ONE MONTH ANNIVERSARY!!!!!
This morning we went to a farmers market in Napier. We tasted some lovely fig products, honey and olive oil and wandered around for a bit. Then we shopped for a while and strolled through the city some more while admiring the Art Deco Architecture. We had lunch on the beach and celebrated our one month annniversary by going to a little bakery. We chose a lovely passionfruit pastry and a chocolate fudge brownie, yummmmm. After that, we enjoyed the sunny day during a short beach walk.
Because we enjoyed the farmers market in Napier so much, we decided to go to a bigger one in Hastings this morning. Our pre-lunch consisted of all the amazing tastings you have at a market: lemon curd, chutney, jam, honey, olive oil, dressings, tapenade, cherries, apricots, cheese, fudge, chocolate, macarons, Christmas pudding, muesli, nuts, seeds, vegan pizza, broccoli tea, bread and wine. We also saw the same fig stand again and emptied their tasting plate. Furthermore our charms got us an early Christmas present; a reusable lunch wrap. Afterwards we burned all the calories by doing a 2,5 hour loop track to Te Maka peak.
The 5th of December is Sinterklaas in The Netherlands. Because of the contact with our home, we got to experience it as well. Normally we eat ginger nuts, now we replaced it with Ginger nuts (some sort of cookie). Not the same at all, but still we felt connected to our family :). We took our mind of home, lived in the moment and enjoyed the day at Hastings, Havelock North and at Oceans Beach.
Love Miriam & Mirte