Finishing off my time in Rotarua with a quick 9 holes of dodgy golf (+27 – nice), I went down to Taupo, a small town next to Lake Taupo in the center of the North Island. The activity of choice here is a tandem skydive, which as you don’t need much training (due to the instructor jumping and landing with you) comes in at a resaonable cost. However, due to the assisted landing there was a weight limit for the jump. Lets just say I was a few pies away from it…
So, to occupy my time, I spotted a flyer for mountainboarding – which for the uninitiated is like snowboading down grass slopes on a large skateboard with foot straps. This was to both tune my skills for future snowboarding, and also to try a potential new hobby. After three hours I had fallen hard on my butt twice, which three days later is now a purple and black circle about 6 inches wide – similar to a previous boarding injury for those who were privleged to see that !
So with an aching butt I slept the few hours before embraking on the Tongariro crossing – a 17km walk through Tongariro national park – supposedly one of the best day walks in NZ. This was a lot of endurance and pain, but very scenic and very beautiful. We walked from rocky lands into snow-filled craters and finally back through golden grasslands and lush green forest. Then we got picked up at the end of the trail and taken to the Skotel in Tongariro National Park – our next night stop.
Here, in this lush park of grassland and mountains, I have discovered the cheapest snowboarding I have seen ! As it is Spring and the season is almost over, I have been able to get a Spring season pass for less than a 5-day pass normally is ($200NZ) and equipment hire is around about $50/day. So I think I will stay out the rest of the snow (1-2 weeks) here, unless I get bored of the mountains before then ! Having a real blast doing this – but I did manage to dislocate my thumb today. It popped back in again, but it stings a little now. Ow.