At 7.45 am seven bright-eyed and eager trampers stepped out of the WTMC Ruapehu Lodge and set off up Mt Ruapehu. It was a great day for a climb—blue skies with barely a breath of wind.
It didn’t take long before we left the road and stepped our way across shingle and large rocks, tinged with yellow and pink volcanic colours.
Up and up we went with Maarten ably leading the way.
Out of the cool morning shadows we moved and into warm sunlight. Wispy clouds were starting to creep up below—would they stay away until we reached the top so we could see the crater lake?
We soon arrived at the top of the Sky Waka (you can ride this up to the Pinnacles Restaurant for a shortcut but we decided to walk the whole way). To get to the restaurant only took 1 hour and the aim was to get to the top for lunch before the weather turned. Up we went—over big rocks, some scrambling, through small valleys and along one of the main spurs going up to the top.
We had a great group and stuck together as the last thing Maarten wanted was to loose someone (even though I am sure I heard him say that a loss of 10% is acceptable). After a few breaks we pushed on and along to the top (well, one of the tops). We sat and took in the beauty as the clouds lifted, and had an early lunch.
We retraced our steps to the café where we had a coffee and a good discussion. It didn’t take long for us to get back to the lodge were Meredith surprised us all with a massive cheese and snack board. Yum!
After a chilled walk up Mt Ruapehu the previous day, a group of four fast-paced walkers launched a trip to Tama Lakes. We knew we had approximately 5½ hrs free so that was plenty of time to do the return trip. We made double quick time and got to Tama Lakes in 1 hr 40 mins where we had an amazing snack break at the Upper Lake with a brilliant backdrop.
We descended back to the Chateau where the others were eating scones after their shorter day walk to Taranaki Falls. It was a brilliant end to an amazing weekend on the Plateau.