New Zealand has it all. The worlds best beach (see previous review), and every natural beauty there is going. If your a volcanic nut like moi then the whole north island is a treat. Other worldly doesnt come close to the landscape that is the Tongariro National Park. I`d already crossed another volcanic wilderness in Hawaii, twice, but this place was another league even to those fantastic areas of the world. I`d gotten a lift to the road the skirts the south side of the big lake that is at the foot of the massive volcano that is tongariro. I again was carrying far too much weight in my pack, but when your wilderness camping around the world theres nothing else for it. The climb is very steep, but one foot in front of the the other and slowly does it, and 3-4 hours later your at the mountain hut, where most if not all sensible folk would bed down for the night. Me, I just continued up unitl the summit and bloody hell what views and spectacular scenery. Its difficult to get excited by different shades of greys and black, but thats all there is up there. This is where Lords of the Rings was used for many of the most spectacular shots, esp the battle scenes. I looked for somewhere to camp for the night, the only suitable spot was beside the volcanic blue pool, situated at the bottom of a natural ampitheatre of black, pumis rock. Proberbly the most lunatic place i`ve ever camped. My reasoning at the time was it was a water supply, it was, but that night the winds blew like the gods wanted me off and away from this most sacred of natural wonders, cheeky Englishman. The next day I tramped off the top of the high volcano and into the vast volcanic wilderness that makes up the bulk of the National park. I spent one more night, by a safer watering hole. I met only two other silly types on the trail of 30 miles and 3 days. Eventually made it to the main road, and after a short while, got a good hitch hike out of there and onto Wellington and civilisation once more, onto further adventures around this blessed world of ours. To read more please refer to my forth coming book of the same title, The Long Way Home, or my published adventure on the Appalachian Trail called the Brits Version of the Appalachian Trail, enjoy!!
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