Today I had my first glimpse of Mount Doom, err, Mount Ngauruhoe, from the lakeside town of Taupo. Mount Ngauruhoe is an active volcano situated between Mount Tongariro and Mount Raupeho, and has gained international fame as the site of scary Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings.
We spent much of our time in Taupo preparing to hike the Tongariro Crossing, one of the top ten day hikes in the world. As we purchased extra bottles of water, high-protein snacks and lots of granola bars, Taupo became the backdrop for many LOTR references. Epic journeys, like the one I’m doing with Flying Kiwi and the one Frodo & the Fellowship completed through Mordor, just warrant comparison, so we spent much of our time in Taupo calling each other Mr. Frodo. (As grown adults often do.)
Aside from preparing for Tongariro the next day, the rest of our time in the lakeside town was mellow and low-key. I wandered around with a group of gals deemed The Fellowship of the Cereal Bars, and we spent the day soaking up the sun by the lake and checking in with our families. While I sat in an Internet café trying to convince my mom that it was ok to visit the café without a buddy, two members of our group jumped out of a plane. When they came back, safe, sound and euphoric, I couldn’t help but wish I had gone with them instead of choosing the mellow route for the day. Hmmm.
While we were touring Taupo, Holly and Carolyn, our fearless guides, were trying to get a part delivered from Auckland for our bus. Since they couldn’t get the part delivered that night, we had to pack up all our gear from the cozy branded bus to another one that would take us to the campground for the evening. If this had been a press trip that I was leading on behalf of a client, someone would have had a meltdown – however not one person complained about the inconvenience.
That’s one of the things I thought I was so remarkable about the Flying Kiwi experience. There were few interruptions along the way, however any bump in the road was handled with ease, not just by the guides, but by the participants. I suppose divas and princesses are not so apt to choose a camping adventure in the first place, so by nature everyone on board is pretty adaptable. It was just a relief, after leading so many press trips over the years with demanding complainers, to travel with a group of fun, carefree folks who didn’t lose their minds over every little schedule change.
Up next… The Tongariro Crossing