by sam on 20th December 2014 4 comments
The three mountains together
Today we took the scenic route from the South of Lake Taupo, where we were staying at Tokaanu, to Waitomo where we are staying now. This was primarily to get to see the 3 volcanoes in the Tongariro national Park; Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe, and Mount Ruapehu.
Three very different volcanoes, one long and low, with multiple peaks; one very conical, the epitome of what a volcano should look like if you were to ask a child to draw one; and one very rugged and pointy, with a treacherous looking snowy peak.
Mount Tongariro ans it's smoking vents
Tongagriro last erupted in 2012 and is still happily rumbling along deep inside. There are still multiple small vents along the sides with plumes of steam and/or thicker white smoke puffing out, just to remind you!
Mount Ngauruhoe, aka Mount Doom
Ngauruhoe sits 300m taller, but practically starts in the the foothills off Tongariro, and is the most famous, as Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit films.
It is, in geological terms, a baby volcano, at only 2500 years old and apparently that is why it has such an iconic shape...if we come back to visit in its old age, it will apparently get craggy like the rest of us! Don't be misled by the cutesy shape though, it's been the most active with 20 smallish eruptions in the last 50 years or so!
Mount Ruapehu, also used as back drop for Lord of the Rings
Ruapehu, was for me, the most stunning to see though. It was truly magnificent; tall, wide and mostly snow covered, and at 3000m above sea level, significantly more imposing than it's neighbours.
We were able to drive Betsy up to the highest village in the National park, at 1300m above sea level, we could definitely feel the drop in temperature up there, but it was still sunny enough for lunch in shorts.
The village was called Whackapapa, amusing enough in itself, but slightly more giggle-some when you learn that in NZ pronunciation, "wh" sound is pronounced "f", and a lot of the maps have this village called "whackupapa"... I wonder if they changed it on purpose?
Betsy at Lunch 1300m up Mount Ruapehu
We managed to get our daily obligatory selfie done, just before the thick storm clouds came over and hid almost the whole peak from view for the rest of our time there; the weather here is so changeable quickly, it has been double handy having Betsy with us, so we can just change when we need to, rather than have to think too much about what we need for the day :-)
Good old Betsy, you will miss her when you leave. Mount doom so much easier to pronounce xx
Good to see you took on the Wh pronounced a F tip, brownie points for that.
Love that you called her Betsy. That was my grandads cars name :)
Miss you xx
That's why I love my campervan :) never having to go without whatever stuff you need!