I climbed Mt Doom, threw the Ring (that I didn’t have) in the fires (that didn’t exist), and saved (middle-)earth. Or something like that. Anyway, my journey in NZ is almost at an end.
On Saturday I spent about 5,5 hours in the bus from Wellington to Turangi, where I just relaxed at the hostel for the rest of the day. Not a bad idea, since Sunday morning at 7.30 the bus to the Tongariro Crossing left. This is a 17 km track through the Tongariro National Park, passing Mt Ngauhuroe, a red crater, beautiful emerald lakes, a crater lake and Mt Tongariro. It is supposed to be the finest one-day walk in NZ. I considered the crossing itself fairly easy, it took me less than 4,5 hours. Since my return bus would depart more than 7,5 hours later, I decided to do the sidetrack up Mt Ngauhuroe. This vulcano seems to be better known as Mt Doom, for Lord of the Rings fans anyway. And it was not an easy volcano to climb, the slopes were pretty steep and covered in loose rock. So for every two steps forward, I would slide one step backward. Pretty annoying and exhausting. Oh well, I managed to climb to the top (2287 m, the track started at 1100 m) and the views were pretty awesome. Unfortunately I did not bring the Ring (they sold the Ring in Wellington for about 225 euro, too expensive for my backpacker budget). And if I had brought the Ring, there was no fire, magma or lava to throw it in anyway (pretty disappointing). Mt Doom took me about 3 hours return, which was what the sign said and therefore it took me a long time, considering I usually need no more than 2/3 of what the signs say (I mean, the crossing was signposted as 8 hours, and it took me less than 4,5 hours).
This morning I got a lift of two Danish girls to Taupo, where I spent the afternoon biking around. I guess I have seen quite a lot of New Zealand by now, considering that I went to places where I had been before. I biked to Huka Falls, and from there to floodgates of the power station and to Craters of the Moon, an active thermal area. That area really bleeched in comparison with Whakarewarewa in Rotorua and Wai-O-Tapu where I have been 5 weeks ago, but at least it was free.