I wake up when it gets light and go outside. It’s still misty, but it looks to be a bright day. I get dressed and start driving, because everything here is still wet and I’ll have my breakfast somewhere else. Also I hope to take some nice pictures of the beautiful road to this campsite in the first light of the day.

I take some nice pictures of the green hills and when I have phone connection again I map out a route to Tongariro National Park where the high mountains are. I’m really blessed with the weather today. Exactly at the day that I want to go hiking it’s a sunny day, not a single cloud near the mountains. I decide to go for the last major thing on my New Zealand list: climbing Mount Doom. Before I start the hike I make myself an big breakfast and a lunch package. I also pack a lot of water and my first aid kid, because I have heard that this is a really tuff hike.

Misty morning
Misty morning 2
Road through green hills
Misty morning at an off the grid campsite
Small road back to civilization
New Zealand Sheep
Closing the gate of the campsite behind me
Road surrounded by green trees
New Zealand Sheep 2

The hiking path starts nice and easy, but gets steeper the closer I get to the mountain. As usual I hike fast and am not wearing a shirt, but as I get higher it actually gets quite cold. After a little more than an hour walking I’m at the foot of the mountain. Here the path stops and some warning signs say that it’s dangerous to go further. Of course I do not let that stop me and I start the climb of Mount Doom. It is indeed the most difficult and most dangerous hike I’ve ever done. There is not really a path, I just have to find a way over sliding rocks, snow and ice and it also involves some rock climbing. What makes it the most difficult though is that the wind starts blowing very hard. It is a great adventure. A little help comes from two guys climbing in the distance in front of me, giving me some idea of where to go. It doesn’t take long before I catch up with them. One of the guys is thinking about giving up, but I encourage him to keep going, because you don’t want to stop half way. Later he thanks me that I helped him getting further. After about one and half hours climbing I reach one of the two tops. It’s really cold here and I’m glad I brought my had and gloves with me. I climb over the top and a bit down on the other side where there is no wind. Here it’s actually quite comfortable and the view is amazing. Because it’s such a clear day you can see the landscape really far. The rocks of the mountain are actually a bit warm, because Mount Doom is a volcano and I can also see some smoke coming from in between some rocks.

Road to the mountains
Mount Doom
Warning sign by the trek
Ready for a serious hike
Hiking to Mount Doom
Warning sign at Mount Doom
The path to Mount Doom
Another hiker following me

After having rested for a while and taking pictures at the top of the mountain, I slowly begin my way down. The way back is as I expected even harder, because I have to watch out more for not sliding down. I fall a couple of times, but fortunately don’t hurt myself too bad. When I’m almost back at the foot of the mountain I wonder if I should also have climbed the snowy top, but I quickly realize that it’s good that I haven’t done that. After a couple of hours climbing I got a bit tired and I still need to hike back to the starting point. I feel accomplished that I’ve managed to climb Mount Doom, something I will probably never do again. It was challenging and dangerous, but also totally awesome.

Enjoying the hike 2
Enjoying a free ice lolly provided by nature
The view at Mount Doom
Enjoying the hike
Some hikers with professional equipment
Steam coming from the mountains
Walking on snow and ice
Enjoying the view at Mount Doom

On my way back I eat my lunch package and think about what to do next. After several days of camping I feel like getting a bit more comfortable again and I’ll probably look for a hostel or hotel when I’m back at the car. Five and half hours and 17 kilometer further I arrive back at the car. Feeling tired and accomplished after this great hike.

Reached the top of Mount Doom
The mountain now surrounded by clouds again
View from hostel in Taupo
Thats where I just was
Lakte Taupo

I drive to a town called Taupo, it’s a nice drive next to a lake that I had already seen from the mountain top. When I arrive in the town I feel tired and don’t want to drive much further, so I go online and find a hostel. When I check in there, the guy at the reception turns out to be from the Netherlands as well, so we continue our conversation in Dutch. After check in I do some groceries and make myself dinner. In the kitchen is a girl also from the Netherlands. It’s interesting to suddenly see so many Dutch people. We have dinner at the balcony and after that I’m getting my laptop to update the blog. I talk for a while with the girlfriend of the guy at the reception, also Dutch, and share travel stories. They’ve been in New Zealand for about four months and work now at the hostel. She gives me some tips for places to visit before I leave. I’ve met so many people who stay in New Zealand for months or years. Although it’s a beautiful country, I wouldn’t want to live here. It is a great journey, but I’m also fine with going home again in two weeks. I’m not quite sure yet what I’ll do in the coming days, but I like to see it per day what’ll come my way. For tonight I got myself a shower and a bed, so it’s all okay and then tomorrow the adventure continues.