Hike The Lord of the Ring's Mt. Doom
From Taupo, we headed south to River Valley Lodge, with a stop through Tongariro National Park. A two hour loop through the park takes you to picturesque Taranaki Falls, where we enjoyed a quick picnic lunch.
The landscape was a distinct contrast from previous stops, making it uniquely beautiful.
A major walk in New Zealand is the Tongariro Crossing. If you're there in good weather, I've been told it's one of the the hardest days, yet most rewarding. A shuttle will drop you off and pick you up, but in colder/harsher conditions, you need a guide.
Just south of there in the middle of nowhere along Rangitikei River, within a steep green valley, it's easy to see how River Valley Lodge landed on its name. If you're looking for beautiful rolling hills along rushing water, with a friendly atmosphere, this stop is not to be missed.
For horseback riding or rafting, apparently this is your place. Unfortunately, all trips were cancelled due to constant rainfall. Seeing as I didn’t plan on either activity, I was content to settle into the warm lodge with some homemade mac and cheese and warm mulled cider.
Next up is Wellington!
Things to do south of Taupo:
Horseback riding in this stunningly beautiful area, weather permitting.
Whitewater Rafting through 4-5 grade rapids, weather permitting.
Relaxing and playing games in the cozy lodge.
Tongariro National Park for a nice walk around Mt. Ngauruhoe