QaZZWhakapapa River to Tongariro Holiday Park – 35km (1096 km total)
Coming out of Owhanga is a quad bike trail known as the 42 traverse, which the Te Araroa Trail follows.
The day started out great. Nice wide trail through forest with lots of little streams to cross. Our lunch break was at a river crossing which was only mid calf deep. It was here that the only other people for the day were encountered. A group of five people on mountain bikes and then a couple of people on motorbikes. One of whom was on a quad bike and had a dead wild pig strapped to the front. It seems like pig hunting is a big thing here in NZ, which I find crazy.
After lunch the trail got harder. It became steeper and more overgrown, however there was another fun river crossing. The trail followed a small stream for 10 meters and then crossed a wider river. It was here that I started to become over walking for the day, but still had over 10km to walk. It didn’t help that it was a really warm day. So the heat zapped my energy as I staggered up the hills. Near the end of the track there were muddy sections, which I just didn’t want to deal with, when I had no energy left. Then 6km before the holiday park the trail became an overgrown grass track, in the sun and as I staggered out on the road, the wind came up. Sun, elevation, wind and mud are not a good motivation.
I staggered into the holiday park announcing that I was shattered and everyone pronounced that the day also broke them. Funny how one 35km can be great and another breaks you.
The famous Tongariro Crossing is next (famous for being Mt Doom in Lord of the Rings). However, it is best done in good weather, or all you get to see is cloud. The weather for tomorrow is said to be cloudy with some showers. Then the next day cloud clearing. So we made the decision to wait at the Holiday Park for a day, to hopefully get ok weather for the crossing. It wasn’t a hard decision to make with how shattered everyone was after today, not walking for a day, sounded great!
Today I am thankful for rivers to cool off in.