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North Island Day 12: Glutton For Bloody Puishment

National Park, New Zealand

I woke up this morning and experimented with moving. It hurt. A lot. I lay there for a while contemplating how I was going to get myself down off the top bunk with minimal injuries when I ached in places I'd forgotten had existed. Somehow I managed it, made it all the way to reception to buy milk and instructed my Bitch to make me a cup of tea.
Then I got it into my head that the best way to combat the pain was to do another walk. Up another volcano. I decided to check out Mt Ruapehu so I headed to Whakapapa to get some information on going to see Crater Lake. Andrea came along for the ride, probably to point and laugh at me.

The nice people at the visitors centre informed me that I could see the crater on a five hour round trip, the walk isn't marked so you have to find your own way up and did I have good tramping boots and cramp ons on account of all the snow and ice? I don't even know what a cramp on is let alone know how to use one and as for finding my own way? I can't even find my way home without clear directions and a GPS system so I opted for the chair lift to 2020 metres and the 1.5 hour return walk to the top to look at the lake from afar.

And here's another difference between NZ and Australia. In Oz, when you're given an estimated walk time you can safely shave a good few minutes off it as those times are generous and probably relate to the eldery or otherwise slower than me. In New Zealand you can assume that the estimated time given only applies to you if in fact you hail from the planet Krypton and have a penchant for wearing your underwear on the outside. I generally have to add at least half an hour to allow for the gasping.

And so I dropped Andi back at home and eventually found myself up the side of a volcano wondering what made me think that climbing up aforementioned volcano might be fun for someone with a passion for vodka and sitting down when the day previous they'd dragged their out of shape carcass on a 19km hike.


From what I can gather, Mt Ruapehu is the most active of the park's three volcanos and Crater Lake changes temperature according to the level of volcnic activity. It last erupted in 1996 and you can see pictures of it once you get to the top of the ski lifts. Mt Ngauruhoe hasn't erupted since the 70's but previous to that it erupted roughly every nine years so they reckon it's overdue an explosion.


It was kinda fun though, I told myself at the start that I'd climb as far as one hour would allow me which would give me plenty of time to get down including time needed to stop, have a cry and want my mum. And there's snow! I haven't seen snow for ages and y'know what? It's still as cold and wet as I remember it being.

Eventually my one hour was up, a guy coming down told me that it'd probably take me another 45 minutes to get to the top which would mean about 90 minutes in my world and then I'd have to get down and the last chair lift was at 4pm... Nah sod it. I built a little snowman and headed back down.

And yes I know its got no arms. There's no twigs at that level. Its a quadraplegic snowman. And it's only a foot tall on account of the fact snow is really fucking cold and I wanted to retain the feeling in my fingers. I called it Denise because... erm... my mate Denise said I should. So really it's more of a snowdyke. A 1ft tall, quadraplegic snowdyke.

You don't see many of them up volcanos now do ya.

permalink written by  Koala Bear on January 24, 2009 from National Park, New Zealand
from the travel blog: Tiny Little NZ Road Trip
tagged RoadTrip, LovinIt and NorthIsland

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Previous: North Island Day 11: The Tongariro Crossing Next: Winding Down

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I live life on the edge.

Provided I'm harnessed to a safety rope and there's a team of trained professionals on hand to make sure I don't fall off.

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