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Te Kuiti to Tongariro, New Zealand

Day 8: We camped just outside of Te Kuiti near the property where we were going caving

Day 8: The caving trip we went on was on a farm just outside of Te Kuiti (the main town which services Waitomo). Our guide, Paul, runs a small operation - he has a minimum party size of 2 so it was just me, Tom and him for the day.

Day 8: Our first activity was a rock climb... in gumboots! (which is what we wore all day)

Day 8: Tom climbing

Day 8: We then wandered down the creek which was very similar to what we would do canyoning

Day 8: Tom in the creek

Day 8: Paul had trained up this eel to eat snails from the hand. Tom feeding the eel snails.

Day 8: Tom abseiling. Paul is caving photography tragic and was more than happy to set up shots with Tom's DSLR. I didn't really get any shots in the caves but Tom has quite a few.

Day 8: Tom abseiling

Day 8: Tom abseiling down the crag Paul has developed

Day 8: Not the usual scene for the end of a day of adventuring in Australia!

Day 9: We then drove to Tongariro National Park and did what we could of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. There were some eruptions in September and November so the walk was only open as far as Emerald Lakes. We set off from the carpark just before 6am on the advice of the guy at our accommdodation.

Day 9: Tom a couple of hours in.

Day 9: Looking back down the track. We could clearly see Mt Taranaki at a distance (my camera isn't good enough to show it though)

Day 9: Tom crossing South Crater. The early morning start was worthwhile - we were the second party in

Day 9: Mt Ngauruhoe

Day 9: Tom

Day 9: Tom on the summit of Mt Tongariro. We enjoyed a long morning tea and had the summit completely to ourselves!

Day 9: The hordes start trickling in. This is the high point of the normal track and where most people turned around.

Day 9: Impressive vent in red crater

Day 9: Emerald Lakes - the official turn around point on the Crossing. Most people didn't go down to them as the descent was down a scree slope which you then had to climb back up again.

Day 9: Walking back up after having a second morning tea at Emerald Lakes.

Day 9: We had lunch at Mangatepopo Saddle and decided since there was still plenty of daylight we'd give climbing Mt Ngauruhoe a crack. The views were great but the climb was tough - basically just scree and loose scoria the whole way up. Tom on the last (worst) section.

Day 9: Tom above the crater

Day 9: Looking into the crater

Day 9: Views of Mt Ruapehu and Tama Lakes from the Mt Ngauruhoe crater rim

Day 9: Walking back to the car - some of the first to arrive and some of the last to leave

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