Day 51 – Tuesday 2nd December

Mangatepopo Track, Whakapapaiti Mangahuia Track and National Park Connection

Start Point: Turn off the Tongariro Alpine Crossing route 200m past the Mangatepopo Hutimage image

Finish Point: National Park 

Distance: 29.3km Time: 10 hours

Today I am joined by Wendy, Lee and Mandy who also walked the day through Auckland with me. It is great they have signed up for two days. They are two very different days though!

We were up at 5.30 am and it was a frosty morning of zero degrees. We drove to the start and posed by the sign – Lee and Mandy still in their PJs. Wendy was walking the first trail with me so we started off in the freezing cold. I luckily had my big jacket but had to pull my sleeves down over my hands as I didn’t have gloves.

This trail, Mangatapopo, was awesome. It was well marked and well looked after. We had some ups and downs with streams but mainly pretty flat. There was ice and snow to avoid so we had to be careful but we cruised along quite fast. Some of the puddles were frozen over. The amazing views of the mountains were beautiful. As the day warmed up it was sunny but still had a bitter wind.

We had the chateau as our target and made it there (back to cabin) in time for morning tea of coffee and cake. I then had Lee and Mandy walk with me for the next track, Whakapapaiti. This trail was also nice to start with as it went by the river. There were many rivers to cross, most with bridges or stones to step on, two were deep.

We had some board walking and the whole time the day kept improving and the mountains looked amazing. I couldn’t stop taking photos so now have a million mountain photos that all look similar.

We stopped for lunch and then it was bog track time. The track turned swampy, wet and muddy. For a couple of hours I managed to keep my feet dry which was bliss. Once I couldn’t avoid the mud I just went straight through the middle of everything. This trail took longer than we thought it would.

For the last part of today, Wendy joined me again for 6 km of road walking to National Park. They then let me check into my backpackers and off loaded lots of food to me. It was fabulous to share this day with the three of them and I am very thankful for their kindness and support.

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