One amazing thing about New Zealand is that, in terms of nature, it has it all. Beaches, forests, jungles, farmlands, snow-peaked mountains, rivers, lakes, streams, a continuous coastline and desert. If you like the outdoors what more do you want. Another thing, that we haven’t mentioned yet and is an important part of New Zealand’s history and existence, is all the volcanoes (many of them still active) that are spread across the country’s two islands. New Zealand is pretty much just one big volcano.
New Zealand’s largest and highest active volcano, also known as the grandfather of all the volcanoes, is Mount Ruapehu, located in the Tongariro National Park in the middle of the north island. Even with its frequent eruptions (latest one in 2007), the volcano still interest’s many adventurous hikers to summit and look out over its crater. The highest point of Mount Ruapehu is 2797 meters and is always covered in snow. On a clear day, you can see both East and West coastlines and the second biggest Volcano, Mount Taranaki, about 160 kilometers away.
After a few days of boredom hiding away from the rain the sun started to shine through again. A quick decision and 20 minutes later we were on our way to the summit that was going to take us about 5 hours return. A fun and challenging climb with amazing views made it a very enjoyable hike for us. Okay, it was hard sometimes too, at least for Frida who had a short cry moment half way up. For Jack, it was easy-peasy as always but as everyone knows, the team is only as strong as the weakest link. We still managed to summit though and the views from the top were incredible and when we realized that we could slide ourselves down the volcano on the snow it made even better. Frida turned into a happy child again while Jack took on the cautious parenting role, watching his girlfriend fly down the volcano, narrowly missing sharp rocks and crevasses. A great day for the body, the soul and the eyes*.
*Frida’s eyes were heavily snow-blinded after the hike forcing us to visit the hospital in the middle of the night. But that’s another story (a very surreal one) and now, a few days later, she can almost see hundred percent again.