We arrived later in the evening at Whakapapa village only to find out the shuttle bus for the mornings walk for the Tongariro Crossing had been cancelled due to the bad weather. So this was a big disappointment but understandable as the weather forecast was bad for the following day or two, very strong winds and freezing temperatures at the mountain peak added to poor visibility. Still not much we could do about it and we were not the only people affected all the shuttle buses were stopped, shame. Checked out the warning signs, yep that’s where we are camped !
After wandering around the visitors centre in the village we settled on the comfort of the Chateau Tongariro Hotel restaurant rather than a wet camping site with the rain dripping down onto the top of the bus.
In the morning we took the advise of the travel experts and decided to walk out to Taranaki Falls a 6km loop walk directly from the village. The track consisted of an upper and lower walk to the waterfalls, we headed into the trees and followed the track up the river towards the falls at the halfway mark returning on the more exposed upper track on the way back.
The water tumbles 20 metres over the edge of a large lave flow, from an eruption from Mount Ruapehu 15,000 years ago. The water plunges into a boulder-ringed pool below, before cascading down through water-worn gorges of the Wairere Stream. It is something to behold, mesmerising to watch, we clamber down for a closer look.
Check out the website : Chateau Tongariro Hotel
Where : Taranaki Falls, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
Travelling : State Highway 43. Starting in Stratford the journey is 150km long to Taumarunui, in the bus it took us about 4-5 hours but would be quicker by car. The landscape is rugged and hilly, with many tunnels and steep climbs over the saddles followed by steep windy descents on the other side. Joined the Highway heading south towards Tongariro National Park.
Camping : Whakaapa Village , Whakapapa Holiday Park small village in the shadow of Mount Ruapehu, information and backpackers centre acting as the starting point for walks into the park.
Next Up : A Natural Force / Hukka Falls