The brakes on the bus screeched as it came to a sudden halt.
“Please, don’t spill” I whispered as I juggled the coffee cup in my hands. I was determined to save every precious ounce.
The bus doors flung open and sleep deprived, zombiesque people walked down the stairs and into the cool breeze blowing through Tongariro National Park. It is one of the most beautiful and biggest points of interest in New Zealand.
I chugged the remaining contents of my cup, zipped up my coats, and stepped out into frosty New Zealand air of a New Zealand morning. I couldn’t help but smile.
Today was the day we were trekking the world renowned Tongariro Crossing.
What is the Tongariro Crossing
The Tongariro Crossing is a world renowned, and known as the best day hike in New Zealand.
The Tongariro Crossing is a 19-kilometer hike. The trail leads through the stunning and unearthly landscape of New Zealand’s North Island.
My fellow Lord of the Rings geeks or those wondering where Lord of the Rings was filmed will recognize the Tongariro Crossing as both Mt Doom, and the land of Mordor….where the shadow lies. ( Sorry for the geek out)
By the end of the day I will be able to say I have traveled from the Shire to Mordor!
A couple of years ago, on my first trip to New Zealand, I was beyond excited to trek the Tongariro. I’d heard tales that it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.
However, the night before the hike the weather turned and dumped enough snow over the park that I didn’t do the hike.
This quickly became a huge travel regret for me. Since then every time I heard anyone mention the Crossing I always had to suppress a twinge of jealousy.
Needless to say, the Tongariro has been on my travel bucket list for a while.
There was only one tiny problem. I was sick.
A couple of days before the flu hit me faster than a hobbit can cook second breakfast.
In my heart, I knew if I was here again and let this chance pass me by for a second time that it would gnaw at me inside.
Yep, I was conquering the Tongariro. It was a sniffling, coughing, and flu-ridden day through Mordor.
Tossing my coffee in the nearest trash I gathered my fellow Haka tour mates Laura, and James and we began our day in the mountains of New Zealand.