Lord of the Rings scenery and a lodge in the middle of nowhere!
21.11.2012 - 22.11.2012 22 °C
The next morning we set off on the bus and drove for a little while before coming to Tongariro National Park. This is the home to three volcanoes: Ruapehu (Roo-a-pay-hu), Ngauruhoe (Na-roo-ho-ay) and Tongariro which is also known as Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings. One of them is the one that the hikers climbed yesterday (but Jonny can’t remember which one!). A lot of filming for Lord of the Rings was done in this park and we went for an easy 2 hour hike through it. I was really glad that I got to see lots of LOTR scenery without almost killing myself on that difficult hike (and this was free!). We took the Taranaki Falls trail where we saw a waterfall and the little river where Golem chases a fish! There was hardly any uphill walking and it was a really nice day so I was happy! We had a little picnic by the falls too which was nice. When we got back to the bus Scottie told us that one of the volcanoes had erupted and we hadn’t seen it because we were on the walk! It was only a little spat really, nothing serious but I’m glad it happened the day after Jonny’s hike!
After that we were back on the bus and we drove to River Valley. When we were near the lodge we ran into a “New Zealand traffic jam” which was basically a shit load of sheep all over the road! It was quite funny watching the farmer and his dogs rounding them up and getting them into the field! River Valley is in the middle of nowhere and even the bus couldn’t handle the last bit of windy road down to the lodge so we had to throw our bags into a trailer and walk the rest of the way! There were two lots of Kiwi Experience buses staying that night which never usually happens so their accommodation was at absolute maximum. There were 6 double rooms that needed filling so as we’re a couple we thought we might as well take a double. When we got into our little lodge we realised that there was an ensuite but it was locked! If we wanted the key it was going to cost us an extra $25! But then we saw that the toilets and showers were outside, the shower cubicle walls were so low that you could look over into the next stall and they were unisex! There were also only about 7 of each with about 70 people sharing them so we decided to treat ourselves to the ensuite! Really it was justified because most people were spending $15 each on a roast dinner but we just made some pasta in the tiny kitchen (yes, Jonny really did turn down a roast dinner!) so the money we saved doing that went to our ensuite instead and it was definitely worth it! In the evening we hung out in the common area and some people started to get quite drunk as anyone not doing activities in the morning was going to get a lie in! There were some normal bunk bed dorms but there were also two massive dorm rooms with two long massive bunks so you could fit 8 people next to each other along the top and the bottom! They were nick-named the “orgy” rooms and we found out the next morning that after a lot of drinking those rooms did see some action! I’m glad we weren’t there to witness it! So the next morning various people were off doing activities and the bus drivers decided that instead of waiting around for them to come back and leave after lunch, they might as well take one bus load of people straight to Wellington so we were able to jump on an earlier bus. This means that we really didn’t do anything in River Valley and unfortunately I forgot to actually take any pictures but the views were very similar to everything we’ve seen in New Zealand so far – lots of green!
Next stop is Wellington!