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Finding Edoras (AKA Mount Sunday In New Zealand)

Finding Edoras (AKA Mount Sunday In New Zealand)

As the days go down in the West, behind the hills and into shadow, I’m going to be reflecting (i.e. catching up) on some of Ariel and mine favorite travel memories from our adventures. I figured I’d start with what is probably our favorite hike together of all time, finding the filming location for Edoras from the Two Towers.

Right off the bat, know that you do NOT need to be a Lord of the Rings nerd to appreciate this incredible place. At just about two and half hours from Christchurch by car, this is not the most remote location I’ve ever visited. But it sure felt like it was…

Edoras is a great place to get lost
The realm of the horselords feels pretty far from everything. But it isn’t!

While planning our trip to New Zealand, Ariel and I had a list of places we really wanted to see, either because we really thought they were beautiful or because we wanted to re-create a scene from one of the films. Edoras fulfilled both of those items, but it was a bit out-of-the-way based on our planned travel route. Plus, the directions called for about an hour-long drive on a dirt road. Ugh. Ariel was a little skeptical, but I had come across an excellent article at the Dangerous Business blog that had me convinced it would be worth it.

First of all let’s talk location. “Edoras” is actually Mount Sunday, in the Ashburton Lakes region of New Zealand. Getting used to be something of a challenge due to poor signage, but if you just put the coordinates into Google Maps, you can follow turn-by-turn directions.

Our journey actually started for us, as most of our travel days do, about a five and a half hour car ride from our destination. We started our day at Lake Wanaka, which is surrounded the Southern Alps, AKA the Misty Mountains.

A tree grows out of Lake Wanaka
The lone tree of Lake Wanaka

After stops at the Mount Cook overlook and Twizel we continued on. Eventually we came to the turn off the highway that led to the dreaded gravel road. It was only about 20 kilometers or so, but the slow going was a great example of why you should always do a reality check before trusting time estimates on your GPS when going to remote places.

The unexpectedly-longer-than-expected drive meant that we arrived as the sun was beginning to come down out of the sky. This was a benefit and a detriment as it meant we had to be a little rushed, but also that we got some amazing lighting and atmosphere. We were also nearly completely alone, only occasionally running into a few hikers on their way out.

The Edoras film location from Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Mount Sunday, AKA Edoras is a little hill that sits in an incredible valley surrounded by mountains.

After parking at the parking lot (believe me you really can’t miss it), we set off on a hike. This was a little tricky because the trail itself is not so clearly marked and you have to cross a few shallow streams without the benefit of bridges. I’m not sure if we veered off-course or not, but there were definitely some wet feet – so wear some waterproof hiking shoes if you have them.

The way to Edoras
The trail to Edoras. Be advised there can be shallow streams along this path that you have to cross without a bridge.

Eventually we did find our way back to the trail (assuming we were ever off it) and had the benefit of bridges for the last two, much larger streams.

Edoras rope bridge
Rope bridges are always cool.

About 20 minutes from the parking lot, we stood at the bottom of the hill.

Theoden? Grima?

While this was no Tongariro Alpine Crossing, we were still nursing our wounds (and bruised egos) from that fiasco, so it took a little bit of resolve to push up the last 10 minutes of the hike. And really it was no big deal. Just a little huffing and puffing, one little stop and we were there.

And wow… Immediately, this became one of my favorite places on the planet. Maybe it was the incredible 360 degree, uninterrupted majestic views. Maybe it was the fact that we were there completely alone. Maybe it was just relief that we didn’t chicken out at the last second. I can’t say for sure what it was, but I was overcome with a euphoric feeling, that I have only experienced in a few places in the world.

No pictures, no video, nothing could truly capture the feelings we experienced in this moment.

View from the top of Edoras AKA Mount Sunday
Gandalf? Legolas? You down there?

More than anywhere else we visited on this trip, this was the most fantastical experience we had. Even our amazing sidequest to Poolburn could not compare – mostly because of how isolated and unspoiled all the views were here. Everywhere else we went, from the Hobbiton on the North Island, to Milford Sound on the South Island, but either had distractions from other people or buildings that occasionally took you out of the moment. Not here. Even if you have never seen any of the films, read the books or have ever heard of Rohan, I assure you that you will have a spiritual moment here. Seriously, go here. Now.

No filters. We actually have this picture hanging in our dining room.

Of course, we had to (poorly) re-create our favorite Edoras scene while we were up there.

Look we weren’t going for realism here. But like, you travel 10,000 miles or so to get somewhere you might as well take advantage.

You think New Zealand embraces Tolkien tourism?
We’re not the only ones coming here for Middle Earth experiences…

Anyway, we only got to stay at the top for about 30 minutes because we still had another 2 hours in the car (including the aforementioned accursed gravel road). I could have stayed there for a year.

Do yourself a favor and click on these images to see them in full screen.
Every angle, every view, an inspiration.

After a quick descent and hike back, we were on our way to our final stop of the day at Lake Tekapo, where we got to see the Milky Way.

To sum it up, the movie set may not still be there anymore, but this is without a doubt one of the most “real” film locations out there. While the castle is gone, the surrounding landscape is identical to what you see in the movie.

And I tell you this, as someone who has been all over the world, there are few places as magical.

So go. Find Edoras. And share your experiences.

For more on our incredible trip to New Zealand check out our other posts!

They’re taking the hobbits to Isengard!
One does not simply walk into Mordor – The Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Weathertop, Hobbiton, Mordor and Mount Doom
Adventures are not all pony-rides in May-sunshine
The Lonely Mountain, Rohan, Edoras and Pelennor Fields
Heading home…
The road goes over on and on
The best book to take on a trip to Middle Earth

The Ring goes south (island)…

The Ring goes south (island)…

So it’s been a while since our last update. Mostly because we just haven’t been able to sit still (aside from sleeping) for much longer than an hour at a time.

Since leaving dreary, rainy Wellington, our injuries have mostly healed. Ariel is back to normal and I’m getting over a nasty cold/runny nose that cropped up early on Saturday morning. Apparently running yourself ragged on the slopes of Mount Doom and then going on 2-3 hour hikes immediately afterwards is not the wisest decision in the world.

Over the past few days we’ve been driving in the South Island of New Zealand. And

it

is

INCREDIBLE.

While the North Island had a lot of cool sites to visit, the South Island really is like being in a fantasy world. It is all it’s cracked up to be.

We also got an upgraded car thanks to Ariel haranguing Budget for all the issues we had with the GPS and the crappy car in general. It’s been a major difference since we’re able to spread out. This is a key thing to keep in mind, the size of the car may hurt you a bit on gas mileage but when you’re spending 5+ hours of your life in it everyday, the most important decision you’ll make on one of these trips is how you are getting around.

The second, and last, of our mighty steeds…

Here’s a quick summary of what we’ve been up to over the past few days.

On Saturday after dumping the rental car, we traversed the Cook Strait via ferry. Unfortunately it was pretty grey and dreary but it’s still a great experience. If you are doing the rental car thing MAKE SURE you take the Interislander ferry, not the Blue Bridge like we did. More details on this in our upcoming detailed review of renting a car in New Zealand. From the ferry port of Picton we then took a quick drive around the Marlborough Sounds region and then drove across the longest winding mountain road I’ve ever seen. Some of it in the rain. Fun.

After what seemed like hours (because it was) we finally emerged onto the West Coast highway of the South Island. Wow. Imagine the Pacific Coast highway in California…but maybe better.

We went on to see the pancake rocks and blowholes at Punakaiki. At this point, the sun was teasing us coming in and out of the clouds – this time with a rainbow. The whole place was awesome but we were exhausted (especially me – at this point I was really not feeling well and driving was getting to be a real chore).

Finally we arrived at the west coast town of Greymouth just in time to crash in our motel bed.

The next morning, we continued on to the Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers. I wasn’t feeling too hot so our hikes were really limited. Also limited was the visibility. Apparently they get five meters of rain there a year. That’s a lot. It was rainy and foggy and we were only able to see Franz Joseph. Pretty disappointing but it was still cool.

The Franz Joseph Glacier – it’s much more impressive in person…

After the glaciers, we barreled across the Southern Alps (AKA the Misty Mountains). Once we got across into the valley, the sun came out again – this time for good. We took a short forest hike down to the Blue Pools before continuing on to our final destination of the day – Lake Wanaka. It had been a few days since we stayed somewhere with air conditioning…apparently from Wellington on south, it’s not really common to have AC. This was the first night we badly needed it.

On Monday we went from Lake Wanaka to Twizel, where the famous battle of Pelennor Fields took place in Return of the King. After a pretty sad attempt at a drone flight over the area we continued to a Mount Cook overlook (AKA the Lonely Mountain only in real life it’s not so lonely). This place was really breathtaking. Unfortunately, it would become the site of a minor disaster the following day.

From there we went all the way up to Mount Sunday across a 20 mile stretch of not-so-smooth gravel road. This was where they filmed the outdoor Edoras scenes in the Two Towers. The hike up looked like it would be tough, but we powered through and aside from a couple of mishaps crossing a stream, we got to the top with no incidents.

Full review of the area coming in a separate post.

Mount Sunday… or to Lord of the Rings fans, Edoras.

From there we drove back down the way we came until we arrived in Lake Tekapo where we stayed the night. But not before taking a trip up to the Mount John Observatory after dark for a stargazing tour.

Absolutely incredible. And also worthy of its own post.

The Magellenic Clouds. Each of those fuzzy areas is an ENTIRE GALAXY.

Finally at about 1:30 am the longest day of the trip (and one of the best) came to an end.

YESTERDAY we had a bit of an incident. From Lake Tekapo we returned to the Mount Cook area – this time to a different overlook. Here I got it into my brilliant brain to try and take the drone out for a spin again. It…didn’t go well…

Immediately after takeoff the wind just took it away from me. Immediately I had to go running after it just to try and get it to respond to my commands. Eventually I managed to bring it down on the wrong side of the street. After sliding down the side of the cliff I was relieved to see it stayed together in one piece. All I needed to do was reach for it…and… I stepped, through what I thought was grass right into a knee-deep swamp. Disaster. And what made it worse was that I still couldn’t even reach it so now I had to put my other foot into the swamp in order to get it.

Now my shoes, socks and shorts were soaking wet, covered in mud and slime and Lord knows what else… and we had about five hours of driving before we got to our next stop.

So that sucked. Luckily I was driving around with practically an entire wardrobe, so aside from the fact that I had to drive in flip flops for the whole day it wasn’t too bad. At least there weren’t any leeches.

But in that moment… man…

The rest of the day wasn’t too eventful, we made some cool stops along the Waitiki Valley and on the east coast but I was just relieved to arrive at our home for the evening – the Millfield Cottage in Omakau. This place was great, but again no air conditioning and no screens on the windows.

Yesterday morning we had our tour of Rohan and spent some time in Queenstown, but that’s going to be the subject of its own standalone post soon.

That’s all for this update, stay tuned for more, including the resolution of one of our primary missions for this trip. Would we be able to find the location of this famous scene?

Stay tuned…

One does NOT simply walk into Mordor… Or traverse the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

One does NOT simply walk into Mordor… Or traverse the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

On Wednesday, Ariel and I traversed the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Or in other words, we attempted to simply walk into Mordor.

We had known this day was coming for months and even made some half-hearted attempts to “train” for it by doing a few hour-long hikes around New Jersey.

Thumbs up… for now…

We were unprepared.

Our bus picked us up from the Park Hotel where we were staying at 7:30 am and dropped us off at the start of the trail around 8 am. We began our trek surrounded by hundreds of people of varying ages, from children all the way to their literal grandparents. Most of the people were in their 20’s. Disappointed to be surrounded by so many people but excited to get going, we embarked on our journey into Mordor.

We were told the bus would meet us on the other side at 3 pm and that if we were running late, we could catch a later bus at 4:30. If we needed more time than that, we could make arrangements for a private pickup for $150. No thanks. Generally it takes people about 7-8 hours so we had nothing to worry about.

The first kilometer was really easy. We were both thinking that the whole thing would be no sweat and that we’d easily make the 3 pm bus.


Somewhere between the first and second kilometer the trail began to turn uphill. It was still pretty easy, but there was a definite change. Ariel and I both have some respiratory issues, with her having full blown asthma and me having…something like asthma that I’ve never really gotten properly diagnosed.

We began falling behind people at this point. But still, no big deal. Nothing we hadn’t already seen on short stints on the Appalachian Trail or other hikes back home.

Then we came to this sign…

Maybe we should have taken this sign a little more seriously?

…which we had precisely zero respect for as you can see from Ariel’s expression.

Unfortunately for us, it wasn’t lying because this is where the real ordeal began. For the next two hours it was a nearly 45 degree climb of stairs. With our aforementioned breathing issues, that meant stopping every 20 steps or so to catch our breath. Now anyone who has ever gone uphill will tell you that is an absolutely disastrous approach to climbing. We knew this. It didn’t matter though. We had to keep stopping as our hearts were pounding in our ears.

To be sure, we weren’t the ONLY people suffering, but we were definitely among the worst. People were hopping and skipping along past us as we sat, panting. Some people even jogged and RAN past us. Lord how I hated those people.

The views though…

Otherworldly…

Absolutely spectacular. And truly otherworldly. This WAS Middle Earth.

Mordor

At times the trail actually leveled off and we had bursts of energy and excitement. Highs and lows (literally) is the name of the game. We even got to take some fun pictures along the way when we weren’t feeling crushed by the experience.

The trouble was that after two hours, when we were in the midst of what I was calling the “plains of Gorgoroth” there was still one more major ascent. This time with no steps. We literally needed to pull ourselves up by chains.

Absolutely brutal. More than once we both thought about turning back. I was trying to keep it together and push us both across what I thought was the finish line. We took our last break, had our lunch in a rocky outcropping that was our only shelter from 30+ MPH sustained winds and pushed forward.

By this point it was clear that the 3 pm bus was never happening and that even the 4:30 bus would be a long shot.

Then, after one last push, finally, we were at the summit. From here we had an incredible view of the blue lakes, emerald lakes, red crater and of course Mount Doom or Mount Ngauruhoe for people who prefer real world names for their deadly volcanoes.

The Emerald Lakes
The Crack of Doom
A view from the top of the trail

Unfortunately for us, what goes up, must come down. And unlike Frodo and Sam, there were no giant eagles to come and fly us back to Rivendell. Or in this case, the car park.

From the top it was a steep (around 30-40 degree) descent, on thick brown sand. Poor Ariel fell a couple of times, but luckily the ground was really soft so it was no big deal. And still people of all ages kept zooming past us, just casually jogging down, looking like they were skiing past us.

Some people decided to just slide down

At this point I had developed some knee cramps, a heel blister, some pain in my groin muscles and thighs on the ascent, so going downhill was a relief for a while. Eventually though, the “downhill muscles” started acting up too and I started developing a blister on my right pinky toe.

The landscape also changed dramatically from the ascent as well. Whereas on the ascent, we were surrounded by volcanic rocks, on the downhill portion the landscape turned green, with some steam geysers emanating from some places on the mountain. It was very atmospheric and cool looking. At this point we were doing pretty well as the trail eventually leveled off and began lazily winding down the mountain at just a few degrees.

Much as you’d expect in Mordor, steam spews out of the ground

By the time we arrived at the next rest area, we felt great. With just a few kilometers to go – all downhill – seemingly at a leisurely pace, we felt like we might even make the 4:30 bus. Just to be safe, we called to find out if there was a later bus and lo and behold there was actually a 5:30 bus we could take for free.

Feeling great, we continued on down.

And down.

And down.

After about an hour of easy descent, we entered what I can only describe as Mirkwood. No this was not the film location. And no, Mirkwood is not a real place. But man, did it feel like we were trapped in an endless, enchanted rain forest with no way out. The air was utterly still and stifling.

Mirkwood.

And the stairs. My God, the stairs. Hundreds, thousands of stairs going down into the green gloom. Visibility varied from 50-100 feet at most as the trail made sharp 90 degree turns every few dozen steps. And all stairs all the time.

After about an hour of this, Ariel’s knees began locking up. I was barely in better shape. Our water was mostly gone. Feet were rebelling with every step. With no markers along this stretch we had no idea if we were even making any progress at all. Our pace slowed to a crawl, as Ariel was nearly unable to put any weight on her left knee and I tried to support her weight by having her lean on me as we trudged down, one step at a time.

By now it was becoming clear that we were among the last people left on the trail as we were all alone for 5-10 minutes at a time. At last we came to (what was unbeknownst to us) the last round of stairs. Ariel had to stop a few steps from the bottom and for the first time I started ACTUALLY worrying we wouldn’t make it. As people walked by I was asking them for pain medication and basically decided we would just hitchhike back to the hotel whenever we got to end. Instead of catching the bus, my only goal now was to beat the darkness.

Stairs…nonstop stairs…

But in the end, Ariel rallied and we got down the last few steps. From this point on the trail leveled off a lot and the last 20 minutes could even be described as pleasant if we weren’t both limping across the finish line. One of the couples that passed us (and graciously offered to drive us to our hotel) reached the end a few minutes before us and called out to us that it was almost over.

Suddenly the trail turned to the left and DAYLIGHT.

It was 5:40. The bus had waited for us. I had to take a selfie by myself at the end of the trail because Ariel just couldn’t stay on her feet anymore.

And just like that it was over. We won. A few days later and we are mostly healed. Ariel’s knee pains faded with some Ibuprofen and my only continuing injury was an absolutely disgusting pinky toe blister and a sunburned neck and face. Whatever, I’ll live.

So would I recommend it? I’m not sure. It really seemed like we got the worst of it when compared to everyone else. It seemed like if you had ANY climbing experience or were a regular hiker it was no big deal. But for people who are mostly used to hiking/walking on flat ground this was no picnic. You need to be prepared for a tough time. And if you can, spend some time building up your leg muscles in advance of the hike.

But if you’re up for it, the views are really and truly amazing.

In terms of supplies, I felt like we had brought about enough food/water to get through the nine hour journey. We had about five liters of water between the two of us, so we probably should have had another liter or so for the last stretch when we went into overtime. I packed two sandwiches, an apple, a granola bar, some carrots and a cucumber. Ariel did the same, minus a sandwich.

By the end of the journey I started feeling like I do at the end of a day of starving myself on Yom Kippur, but I’m not sure if that was due to lack of food or general over-exertion. Other people we saw definitely packed less than us.

You will definitely want a first aid kit with some band aids, anti-bacterial cream, pain medication. If your lips often get chapped, you’ll definitely want to bring something for that too. Also, don’t be an idiot like me – wear sunscreen on all exposed skin.

We both wore backpacks with water bladders and easy access straws. I really liked mine, an Osprey pack with the optional 3 liter bladder attachment. It was light and I barely even remembered I had it on. With all the pains I experienced, back pain was not one of them despite dragging around at least 20 pounds of gear (including 6.5 pounds of water). Highly recommended.

Most importantly you’re going to want to bring lots of layers. We went from thermal fleeces to t-shirts, back to fleeces and back to t-shirts by the end. The temperature changes were nuts.

Also something to keep in mind is the fact that there are only a few places to stop with toilets on the entire journey. That means unless you can hold it for 3+ hours at a time, you’ll either want to limit your water consumption or get used to doing your business in the field, often with little to no privacy. Although I suppose there is some novelty to being able to tell people you took a leak on Mount Doom.

What planet am I on?

Finally, don’t worry about making your bus. That’s a great way to panic, rush and get yourself seriously injured. And don’t waste your money on “making special arrangements” – first of all there are constantly buses taking people back so that even if you miss yours you can probably hitch a ride with a different bus. They’re not just going to leave you to die. And people who do these treks tend to be really friendly – I have absolute confidence that we would have gotten a ride back from someone who had a car in the lot.

And on that note, we didn’t come across any park rangers at any of the rest areas or anywhere else on the trail. So if you run into trouble like we did (hopefully not worse), you’ll have to rely on your own wits and/or the kindness of strangers.

In conclusion…

I’d suspected, despite continual reassurances from local New Zealanders that we would be “fine” and that it would be no big deal, that we actually would be way in over our heads. It was that nervousness that had me asking everyone we met here what it would be like. The response was always something along the lines of “don’t worry, you can do it.” Well that was technically true, we DID make it and we did live to tell the tale. But if either of us had any kind of chronic knee or other leg/foot issue we would have been doomed.

In retrospect it was absolutely worth it. In the moment, it was a nightmare. Would I do it again? Not really – at least not without building up to it with a year or so of regular uphill hikes. Having said all that, if I could do it you can definitely do it. Just know what you’re getting yourself in to.

Because Boromir was absolutely right, one does NOT simply walk into Mordor.

Adventures are not all pony rides in May sunshine

Adventures are not all pony rides in May sunshine

Bilbo was sadly reflecting that adventures are not all pony-rides in May-sunshine…

–The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

So this isn’t a vacation.

We knew this. You knew this.

It’s an adventure.

What’s the difference, you ask? Well, it’s simple really. Vacations are relaxing. Adventures are awesome. But occasionally adventures also suck. And like the word “awesome” sometimes it means amazing, sometimes it means intimidating. When you’re trying to cram an entire country into 13 days, you’re going to experience a lot of highs, but also a lot of lows. Like our friend, Bilbo Baggins, we’ve experienced quite a bit of both over the past few days.

Mount Doom, or if you prefer Mount Ngauruhoe in real life.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, while incredible and awe-inspiring, did a real number on both Ariel and I. Two days later and we’re still sore. I’m sunburnt, my thighs hurt and I have blisters on my feet. Her knees are painful. On top of that, yesterday, in addition to taking a relaxing yet amazing flight over the very same route we trekked a couple of days ago, I insisted we trek up to the Putangirua Pinnacles, which was the film location for the Dimholt Road (pictured at the top of this post).

It was a really cool experience (also to be fully detailed in a later post), but it did add an extra two hours of hiking on rocks to the 10 miserable hours we did the day before. On a normal day it would be no big deal, but in light of the grueling prior 24 hours it definitely set back our healing time.

Then yesterday, during our all day tour of the film locations around Wellington, whoever it is that rules the weather in New Zealand decided to dump about 3 inches of rain on our heads.

Get off the mother#@#$ing road!

Whatever, it was still awesome. Just exhausting.

Today, we have a ferry to catch at 7 am, have to return our garbage rental car and transfer all of our damn stuff into a the new car they’re giving us. And it looks like more pouring rain. Fun times!

Highs and lows. Pony rides and grueling slogs. We could slow down and miss out on stuff we want, or we can decide to maximize the time that has been given to us. Which would you choose?

First days in Middle Earth… I mean New Zealand

First days in Middle Earth… I mean New Zealand

Well, it certainly has been a pretty nutty first few days for Ariel and I on our trip. Our goal has been to combine the Tolkien stuff with some of the, you know, actual real New Zealand. Renting a car (or taking buses) is a great way to see how the country really works. This is a major reason why we didn’t just book ourselves on a Lord of the Rings type of tour. Also, we want to see what we want to see.

Having said that… NOT being on a tour has its disadvantages as well…

Like hypothetically, if you were a couple of not-quite-in-shape Americans with limited hiking experience, you might want to think twice before doing the Tongariro Crossing… I’m not saying it nearly killed us, but I’m also not saying it didn’t. We’ll have the full story (with some AMAZING pictures) on that later on.

In the end it was worth it both for the incredible views and the sense of accomplishment.

So here’s a quick recap of what we’ve done so far.

On day 1, after stocking up on kosher deli meats at Gray’s Deli in Auckland (where we went straight from the airport), we drove around Auckland and got some pretty scenic views of the city at the Mount Eden overlook. After some pretty awful driving (on the “wrong side” of the road mind you) experiences in the city proper we were off to our first major film location.

Weathertop.

This place was pretty awesome and not that hard to get to. We stayed on the road to avoid the ring-wraiths. Actually it was private property. But the wraiths too.

From there we went to Matamata where we stayed for the night after our first decent meal in about 40 hours at the Redoubt Bar.

On day 2, it was time for our tour of Hobbiton.

Bag End.

There’s not much more to say in a quick summary like this other than that it. Was. AWESOME. I’ll do a full post on this later on when we have some more time, but suffice it to say, if you’re in New Zealand, you have to come here. Even if you aren’t so into the Tolkien stuff, what they did with this set is nothing short of incredible.

From there we went to Rotorua where we learned a bit about Maori culture and saw some amazing geological features.

Standing at the outskirts of Mordor. Or just a really cool park in Rotorua, New Zealand.

They have a couple of really cool geysers there (not QUITE Ole Faithful, but still…) and the whole area is a smoking, bubbling cauldron of boiling mud pits and steam vents. Really really cool.

We then stopped at Lake Taupo on our way to our destination for the next two days, Tongariro National Park. THE VERY SLOPES OF MOUNT DOOM.

On day 3, we did the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

Mount Doom. Both in the movies… and ALMOST in real life!

This will be fully detailed in its own blog post. But for now, suffice it to say that one really REALLY REALLY does not “simply walk” into Mordor.

That’ll do it for today. More to come soon!