Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall charting our adventures as we sail around the world. We're sailing up and down the east coast of Australia after a summer back in Britain.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Six Go Mad in Tongariro - Part 1

We've just spent a magical but exhausting few days in Tongariro National Park with Lionel & Irene (Kiapa) and Damian & Kerry (Sel Citron). We shared a great little holiday house for three days in a village called, slightly confusingly, National Park.

No 12 Railway Cottage
The name of the house should have probably tipped us off as to the proximity of the main rail line from Auckland to Wellington but the noise of five huge freight trains each night meant that we weren't completely rested for the rigours of the outdoor events that lay ahead.

Tongariro National Park lies south west of Lake Taupo in the middle of North Island and is an active volcanic region. In winter it's a great skiing area and in summer thousands of people come to attempt the Tongariro Alpine Crossing which has become known as New Zealand's finest one-day hike (some superlative in a country full of wonderful hiking tracks). Good weather is vital for the Crossing, which peaks at 1850m altitude, so we decided that Wednesday would be our day to attempt it and that we'd hire mountain bikes on the Tuesday.

Irene, Damian and Graham took the brave pills to ride 'The 42', a 44km route that's described as 'demanding'. Actually, Irene told us that it was 'mostly downhill' so the profile map at the start of it came as a bit of a shock:

Mostly downhill, huh? What about those uphill bits, Irene?!

At the start, no turning back now as the van & trailer departs

Graham on one of the river crossings
It was certainly a tough cycle, with rough tracks and slippery surfaces but was Graham's best -ever mountain bike experience.

Meanwhile, the Sensible Crew (Lionel, Dianne and Kerry) decided it was more important to have arms and legs in one piece ready for the following day so did the slightly less demanding but wonderfully scenic Fishers Track, which took about three hours to complete.

This really was mostly downhill!
A driftwood sculpture by a British artist at the end of the trail
The two parties returned to the house for showers, supper and an early night, hoping (in vain, as it turned out) for a less train-disturbed night before a very early start on the Tongariro Crossing. More to follow on this adventure in Part 2.

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