Tongariro Northern Circuit Day 3

February 12th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

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Day 3 started off very wet, and the forecast was for it to get even wetter as they day went on. So we decided to again make an early start and were off before 8 am.

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A lot of the third day is dipping into valleys and out of them, in fairly barren landscapes. Some of them looked like Mars!

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Eventually we hit some shrubs.

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And then after a couple of hours, we hit actual bush with canopy cover. Yay. And even better the forecast proved crap, and the sun came out.

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You descend quickly down to a stream, and cross it by bridge.

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Then there is a fairly demanding climb up on the other side.

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Then one crosses over the top and head down through more bush towards the new Waihohonu Hut.

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We got to the hut in around two and a half hours, and were the first people there. That meant we got the individual bunk beds rather than the shared ones :-)

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We then decided to go explore a couple of local attractions. By chance the DOC Warden (Rachel) had just started the day before so she was also keen to check them out, so we went exploring together. This is the foot of the nearby Waihohonu Spring emerging from underground.

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The spring opens up into a large body of water. It is a 1.2 km walk from the hut only and a cold but lovely place for a swim.

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Enjoying the spring was this very rare Blue Duck. We were told to report the sighting to the DOC office at Whakapapa as they like to monitor where they are seen, and try to protect them from predators.

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After the spring we went to see the original Waihohonu Hut built in 1904. Around 800 metres away.

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The inside of the old hut. They had separate rooms for men and women!

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Then back to the hut. This is one of the new huts, or really a lodge. Infinitely nicer than the old huts.

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As you can see, lots of room inside.

We had a very relaxing afternoon and evening just relaxing at the hut, playing cards and attempting to sleep. More on that in Day 4!

Also met during Day 3 a young couple from Palmie and Hawke’s Bay who were running the entire Northern Circuit in one day. Further they plan to run all eight of the , in eight days (one per day but not consecutive). That’s an impressive level of fitness. They were having a brief meal break at the hut before carrying on.

Not that difficult to run 50 kms or so in a day. Is more difficult to do it on rough terrain and much more difficult to do it when there are steep 1000 metres ascents as part of the run,.

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5 Responses to “Tongariro Northern Circuit Day 3”

  1. Christopher Thomson (376 comments) says:

    “Not that difficult to run 50 kms or so in a day. Is more difficult to do it on rough terrain and much more difficult to do it when there are steep 1000 metres ascents as part of the run,.”

    Try the Humpridge Track. Did 60k in 18 hours. Start at midnight Friday and do 1100 metres vertical climb from sea level. then descend and finish with 20k along the beach.

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  2. lolitasbrother (698 comments) says:

    too much dudes, can’t even think about it

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  3. david w (1 comment) says:

    Dave. It’s the tongariro northern circuit, not the crossing.

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  4. hane (69 comments) says:

    Pretty sad that I have to subsidise your leisure with my taxes blah blah blah

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  5. Ed Snack (1,873 comments) says:

    Amazing new hut, it seems that the latest DOC designs are very good, at least in comparison to the older ones, but it does change the scene a bit. The first and last huts on the Heaphy are also new and similar, if not quite as flash as the Waihohonu.

    As for running 50 km in a day, I’d disagree (and I’ve done that several times, try Triple Peaks in Hawke’s Bay), it’s doable OK (and easier if you’re “young”) but it’s still pretty hard work. If you take a whole day, maybe not too bad, Triple Peaks is 48 km (with 3 summits at 450, 650, and 400 metres plus two river crossings), top runners do 4 hours, sloggers do 6 hrs or more, walkers up to 12-13 hours. You have pretty tired legs and feet after that, though I’m sure that extra training would have helped, as always…

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