The best day hike in NZ… and alpacas! 

Wednesday 23rd January 2019.

We left our freedom camp spot early so that we could park and catch our 630AM bus to the start of the day hike.

Approximately 6 hours and 20KM of trail across alpine landscapes and volcanic surroundings this was set to be an awesome day.

We started fresh legged at 7:10AM and set off for what turned out to be an awesome day. Walking through and over rivers, in and around volcanic rock and eventually after the first climb into the first of two craters. Weird and eerily flat with mountains either side of us.

The next climb was to the 1888m Red Crater summit and Christ it was windy. An exposed ridge made it all that more exciting. After a tricky, but fun, 15 minute ascent up scree and battling cross winds that wanted us to end up at the bottom of the crater we made it to the summit of the Red Crater.

Snapped a picture and headed straight back down as the winds were relentless.

On the other side of the crater were the beautiful emerald lakes. 3 sacred Maori lakes that were, yep you guessed it, emerald in colour. Beautifully glistening below us with steam rising from them.

From here it was pretty much a 10km descent through craters, down trails and through dense forest. 35k steps later we made it back to the car with sore feet and a big appetite!

The rest of the day was now travelling and setting up for tomorrow. Mainly because we did the whole crossing in 5 hours, instead of 6-8 hours!

Along our route from Tongariro to Waitomo was an alpaca farm. Home to 800. EIGHT HUNDRED delightful little bundles of joy.

We stopped off and booked a little alpaca encounter which allowed us to walk an alpaca each, feed them and meet the 8 day old babies who were still sticking to their mothers side.

Who knew alpacas were so cute? We spent some time in the mother’s field where there we SO MANY BABY ALPACAS it was just too cute to put into words.

Instead, meet Longitute and Kandy Kane. (Pictured).

After our decent hike this morning we set up camp, ate our dinner and chilled out before the Waitomo caves at 9AM tomorrow morning!

Oh and tomorrow…


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