So, let’s get into the nitty gritty of where myself, Matt and Keith will be heading to when we hike just over 270kms in New Zealand at the end of the year.
As mentioned previously on Facebook, this trip is very much the sequel to our previous NZ trip and is inspired by The Hobbit.
But, essentially, this is yet another multi-day hiking trip designed to challenge us.
Starting on December 27th at the filming location of Hobbiton in Matamata, we will hike 12 days – including a day off – to Mount Ruapehu in the Tongariro National Park.
Our aim is to arrive at the Whakapapa Village on January 7th and climb Ruapehu on January 8th.
Given that Mount Ruapehu is an active volcano, which hasn’t erupted since 2007, we will be enlisting the help of a guide to take us to the top.
Unfortunately, there is no designated track as such to the top which is why a guide is strongly recommended.
While significant research will go/has gone into the planning of this trip, the first 4 days require no research as we have previously done these.
Included below will be where we’ll be going, how many kilometres we will be doing each day and if there is a food drop pick up involved.
Day 1: Matamata to Putaruru – 30kms
Day 2: Putaruru to Tokoroa – 22kms – food drop pick up
Day 3: Tokoroa to Lake Whakamaru Reserve – 30kms
Day 4: Lake Whakamaru Reserve to Kakaho Road campsite – 30kms
Now, the first three days we will be walking on the road as this is the most direct/shortest way to go.
For the most part it is somewhat repetitive and probably not ideal for most experienced hikers, but there are several advantages that come with it.
The biggest one would have to be that we know where all the water refill spots are between each stop.
From Day Four onwards, it’s mostly unknown territory.
Day 5: Kakaho Road campsite to Bog Inn Hut – 14kms
Day 6: Bog Inn Hut to Piro Piro campsite – 21.5kms (part of the Timber Trail)
Day 7: DAY OFF: January 2nd
Day 8: Piro Piro campsite to No. 10 camp – 25kms (part of the Timber Trail)
Day 9: No. 10 camp to Taumarunui – 20kms (part of the Timber Trail)
The sections involving the Timber Trail lay opposite to the Te Araroa (New Zealand’s national trail) and is often used as an alternative to it.
This is typically a path used for mountain bike riders, but runners and hikers are permitted to use it.
There are several swing bridges we will be required to cross, and the trail itself is, I believe, well formed and can be easily done by those with a good fitness base.
From the end of the Timber Trail, we have organised a shuttle transfer into a town called Taumarunui.
It’s here we will be picking up another, and our final, food drop.
Day 10: Taumarunui to Mid 42 Traverse – 29kms
Day 11: Mid 42 Traverse to Mangatepopo camp – 23kms
Day 12: Mangatepopo camp to Whakapapa Village – 18.2kms
Day 13: Mount Ruapehu Crater Lake Hike – 10kms
The 42 Traverse sections from Taumaranui, similar to that of the Timber Trail, are official sections of the Te Araroa trail.
From my understanding, this section is home to yet more mountain bike and motorbike riders, but mostly hikers.
And that’s the long and short of where we will be going on our trip.
It’s a healthy mixture of roads, hiking trails and volcanic terrain (I cannot wait to show you the scenery in the Tongariro National Park).