New Zealand: Trekking into the depths of Mordor

Road tripping in New Zealand was one of the most incredible travel experiences in my life. Top three material. Although that was mainly down to spending lazy, lazy days driving endless winding roads and roaming isolated beaches and coves, my road trip compadres and I were determined to battle a couple of New Zealand’s renowned hiking trails.

As a group of distinctly non-hikers, this enthusiastic determination was misplaced. To say the least. We were pretty ambitious when we drew up plans to embark on a gruelling day hike on the Tongariro Crossing. Halfway in, two hikers were down. 3/4 the way up, and we were battling such strong winds perched at the top of this absolutely unhospitable beast of a mountain, that I seriously – seriously – thought there was a good chance of being blown off. A few more laboured steps, an incredible view of the turquoise emerald lakes from afar, and we were done.

I don’t know what we were expecting. This place was used as the location setting for Mordor. MORDOR. Multiple Lord of the Rings viewings should have taught us that these lands were no place for hobbitses an inexperienced, physically inactive bunch of hippies.

Yes – fine. In the end, I did have that post extreme effort feeling where you’re happy and victorious and blah blah etc. etc., but honestly? I was just ecstatic that we decided to trek only half of our intended path, descending home happy in our surrender, running all the way home to food, warmth and blissfully flat surfaces.

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