From Wai-O-Tapu Wonderland, the next little stop we made was the glacier-blue water of the Huka Falls. After a short walk, we replenished our supplies at Lake Taupo and covered the last kilometers to Tongariro National Park. As soon as we arrived at the campsite, we learned that Tongariro Crossing would not be possible for the next few days. At least there was no shuttle service and we didn't want to tackle the crossing in poor weather conditions. Overnight: Whakapapa Holiday Park
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We had already booked in advance because we were sure that the national park would also offer some highlights apart from the crossing. And so our evening program consisted of thoughts about what we wanted to do with the next few days. We finally took a few small hikes and still got our money's worth.
It was only in the very late morning, when the weather was really humble, that we were able to get ourselves started on a hike. We were able to run straight from the campsite and always stayed on the well signposted path towards Taranaki Falls. The track is very well developed and sometimes even leads along wooden walkways. Once at 'Lower Tama Lake' it was really exhausting. On the one hand there was a very strong wind, which was the goal to blow me off the mountain. The rain or snow that whipped our faces did the rest. Nevertheless, we still struggled up through the steep scree field to 'Upper Tama Lake'. The view is certainly more impressive on sunny days, but we only had the whole landscape to ourselves. After 6 hours we were back in the camp. The whole trip wasn't so happy for my hot water bottle :-)
A road branches off from Hauptstraße 47 towards Whakapapa. On this you will always find stopping bays or small parking lots that guide you to smaller trails or viewpoints. We started our second day with a visit to Tawhai Falls, better known as Gollum's Pool from Lord of the Rings. A little help was given ;-) It might take 5 minutes to get there. You don't have to plan a lot of time for the stop at the Mounds Walk either. The path leads you to a nice viewpoint, you only need 15 minutes to get there and back.
I really liked the view from the Meads Wall (also known from Lord of the Rings) of the famous Mount Ngauruhoe. Unfortunately, the chairlifts were out of order on our visit day. Otherwise you can run other great trails like the Skyline Trail from there. To get there, you have to follow Bruce Road from Whakapapa.
We parked a little further down on Bruce Road to walk to the Silica Rapids . The path was really nice and the water course with white coloring was interesting to watch. There were hardly any other tourists here either.
In the evening we walked the Ridge Walk from Whakapapa Holiday Park. Also very entertaining with a beautiful view of the fate mountain (we would be back at Lord of the Rings: D). Especially at sunset you can take some nice pictures there :) The next day was a long day of driving. Shortly before Wellington we visited the Nga Manu Nature Reserve in the hope of some interesting birds. However, it was not particularly exciting there. Approx. 50 minutes later we arrived at our night place, because the next morning the ferry started for the South Island. We already booked these online beforehand. Overnight: Belmont Regional Park
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