After a relatively quick ride to WTMC Ruapehu Lodge, we had the general introduction – we were asked to kindly not to put the lodge on fire and told when we were expected to be ready for the tramps. The lodge is much more comfortable than a road end since road ends don’t have spring mattresses, heaters and hot showers so we started our trips well rested.
Our first trip was to Tupapakurura Falls, Mike clearly had practised to pronounce it. The track to the lookout was well maintained and easy to walk. Being responsible trampers we contributed to the maintenance of the track by carrying some gravel to the depots. The biggest contribution was from Tim and Mike, both carrying two buckets to the last depot. At the first lookout DOC was so nice to tell us what we could see if there was a view so with a bit of imagination we could see Mt. Taranaki. At the second viewpoint we could see the charming waterfall. With us all feeling confident we decided to walk a bit further via the back country track to the bottom of the waterfall. Be careful of the goat tracks, they try to lure you into the bush. Don’t be fooled, keep following the orange triangles…. On our way back the weather turned on us and it started to rain. The van tried to tell us he has worked hard enough and decided to stop on the train track. Mike was able to quickly convince the van to start and off we went to the nearest café for a cup of coffee and amazing chocolate cake. After a stop at the DOC visitor centre in Whakapapa we went back to the comfort of the lodge.
The weather on Ruapehu could be described as ‘atmospheric’, if you would consider the inside of a cloud interesting this conditions were ideal. We considered it not so ideal so decided to descend out of the fog and walk the “Ohakune Old Coach Road”. Weather was good and it was an easy well maintained track with a lot of history. It was a varied walk beside the open terrain and bush we admired several impressive viaducts.
After this last day trip it was time to say goodbye to Tongariro Park and back to Wellington but first we bought some chocolate eclairs!