Tongariro Crossing: Grandma and Grandad had an ‘awesome’ time!

Last week we left Grandma and Grandad in the Central Plateau to walk the Tongariro Crossing. It is a spectacular one-day walk (taking around seven hours).

Dan and I have walked it twice and on one occasion took the extra side-walk up Mt Ngauruhoe. It took us about an hour and a half to reach the saddle, at the foot of Mt Ngauruhoe (try saying that after a few two many schnapps – which is the bar where we’d spent the previous night!). The morning clouds were still hanging around with the sun trying its best to pierce through and illuminate the valley below.

Whilst we took in water and prepared for the climb the clouds cleared and we were now baking in the summer sun. This place is a desert in summer!

Now imagine this. You’re on a forty five degree slope, the wind is howling and doing it’s best to blow you down, you’re totally knackered and there’s boulders flying down past you the size of footballs. OK, you do this for two hours and half wonder why you’re doing it. It’s all worth it however. You get to the top and you get spectacular views over the Taupo region and the surrounding National Park. It’s like looking down over the scene of Escape from Planet Of The Apes.

Coming down was a lot faster! Pushing aside the nerves we scree-ran back down to the saddle, in all of twenty minutes! Thankfully, no twisted ankles at the bottom!

Poor Grandad wasn’t so lucky. With three-hours of track remaining he twisted his ankle badly. Grandma was all set to call in a helicopter, but Grandad braved on. Later that evening he enjoyed a few seriously medicinal drinks and nursed his black foot!

Here’s Grandma attempting some scree-walking!

They described the walk as utterly ‘awesome’ (nice to see some ‘kiwi’ adjectives creeping in) and after a weekend of recouperation in Wellington they are now busy exploring the South Island. Grandma is trying to encourage Grandad to rest-up (in the hope of avoiding too many more long walks – she loves it really!); but Grandad is determined not to miss out. They’re currently in the Banks Peninsula (close to Christchurch) staying in beautiful Akaroa.

Whilst we’re really missing them as they enjoy a holiday of a life-time in the South Island, we’re so delighted that they are taking the opportunity to explore the stunning wilderness of New Zealand. It’s also brilliant to enjoy daily phone calls with them at ‘normal’ hours of the day. When they’re in England I really miss not being able to give them a quick call around dinner time, or when I’m having a trying moment with one of the girls!

We wish them a brilliant holiday and please, please, no more injuries!

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