Saturday, February 22, 2014

New Zealand Day 12: Tongariro National Park for the Small Hobbit and Her Minder. And Geyser Eggs!

Alex has posted separately about his much more exciting adventures doing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. I think he’d almost summited his first peak before B and I woke up at Discovery Lodge far below. We had a mellow but quite amiable morning, which was a relief after yesterday’s crankiness. While all the hikers were off doing their thing we were able to do a load of laundry, play some Uno, and do violin practice. Finally we battened down the hatches and headed off to do a little walking of our own.

I lobbied for one of the short walks from Whakapapa Village but B was determined to go to Lake Rotopoumanu and go swimming. It was about a 20 minute, shaded, mostly uphill walk to the lakeshore and then about five minutes downhill to the first little beach. We had it all to ourselves! The water was warmer than I expected and we both went in about up to our waists before playing some sort of Rapunzel game. (I was known as “Evil,” B apparently forgetting the actual name of the witch. Is there a witch in Rapunzel? I am so ignorant on these matters.)

Right around the time we got back to the campervan, we got a text from Alex that he was down at the trailhead, and we headed off to fetch him so we could all spend the rest of the afternoon in the Turangi area.

What better way to recover from a long, tough hike than a spa soak? We headed to the Tokaanu Thermal Pools, where we spent 20 minutes in a super-hot mineral pool (I actually got out faster than that…it was very, very hot) and then quite awhile lounging in the cooler but still comfortably warm chlorinated pool.

Right behind the thermal pools is a DoC walkway past a bunch of geothermal pools, and we also had a tip from my NZ Frenzy guidebook that it was possible to hard boil eggs in a spring/geyser off to one side. We’d come prepared with half a dozen eggs and some nice long socks to put them in.

It was pretty easy to find the spot:

B helped me load up the eggs into the socks and then Alex tied them together:

And hung them on a stick which we placed over the bubbling spring:

We strolled around the little circuit walk waiting for ten minutes to be up, and arrived back just in time to pull our eggs out.

After cooling down, B tested one out:


For the first time on our trip, we stayed at the same campsite. The original hope is that I would be able to do the Crossing myself on Saturday, but the weather forecast wasn’t looking as nice, and we have quite a distance to cover to get to Wellington by nightfall, so I won’t be doing that. Perhaps on our way back north at the end of the trip…

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