When I say bad day, I mean the weather was foul. The volcanoes didn’t erupt like they have twice since we were up there in February.

The Tongariro Crossing is a 20 km track through the volcanoes. We went down planning to do it and climb the two mountains on the same day.

It’s supposed to be some of the most stunning scenery, so we went down with a perfect weather forecast. We then spent a couple of days at the camp site in miserable weather, and then decided to do it anyway.

We soon left the track and started up Mount Ngauruhoe. You probably know it as Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings.

There’s no track, so you’re not supposed to do it in bad weather. In the poor visibility we didn’t pick the best route which made it a lot harder. Going up there was super tough, the scree and ash keeps sliding down the hill. It’s like trying to climb up a steep pile of thickshake.

We took a lot of breaks. I was getting cramp by the top.

 

Here’s a video of us getting up and down Mount Doom. If there is a tunnel in the side leading to the molten lava, then we must have missed it on the way.

All the brainy guys took their shirts off, seeing it was few degrees above freezing.

Having somehow survived that, we should have just carried on with the crossing, but we decided to stubbornly climb Tongariro too.

There was a view of about five yards and my legs were starting to come off.

Looking down from the Tongariro summit on Daniel and me.

Back on the trail.

We caught glimpses of some craters, but not much.

Because we’d put it off, we only got a late shuttle to the start, which meant we were racing to make it to the end in time.

And down into rainforest.

I have short legs, okay?

I laid down in my tent and died for a few hours, and then it was back to some rather civilised camping.

It was an awesome day. I’m kinda glad we did it in foul weather; it was an awesome atmosphere, and it’s going to be all new views when we do it on a nice day. Hopefully this summer if the place stops blowing up.

We meant to climb Mount Ruapehu the next day, but we ended up coming back a few weeks later to do that.

Photos by Zaccai Foster and Caleb Griffiths. (I was much too exhausted to get my camera out.)