Ok – day 14 was a travel day, we moved from Taupo to Turangi and although the trip along the lake was very pretty, we could see the weather changing. Once we got to Turangi we drove out to the meeting point for the Alpine crossing and then over to the Whakapapa village to the ski village that also acts as the information center for the local hikes. We were booked onto the earlier shuttle for the next day and we should be able to get over the top of the mountain before the weather changes.
Woke up to a slightly overcast day and went off to meet the shuttle. Given the car park was empty yesterday, we wondered if we would be the only ones attempting the crossing today. But everyone must have spotted the window in the weather and just after we arrived there was a stream of cars coming in. We managed to be on the first shuttle and started the walk at 7.30am. We did notice the 2 of us were not like the others by about 30 -40 years! But we were well equipped and have been training for this. There is a really good 7 minute video that describes the hike here
We were expecting the hike to take 7-9 hours as that was what all the information details said. So we kept a brisk pace at the beginning. I slowed down a bit when we started the really steep climbs. For the Devils Staircase there are 370 steps and a lot of scrambles. There were pretty steep drop offs but the views were amazing and although difficult it was safe.
The only time we really saw a lot of people (about 30) was at the very top the rest of the day we would see people if a few passed us (see above, 40 years younger) The most technical was the start of the decline from the top as it was very steep and you were walking in volcanic dust and small rocks so you needed to keep your wits about you not to let your feet run out from under you.
There was a part of the decline that still had snow on it and I managed to get all the way across and then fall on my butt as we were getting off it. Rob managed to video it but I don’t think it’s in the clip we are posting. I actually found some of the decline more difficult as there were literally 100’s of stairs and its pretty tough on your knees and thighs. But we got down safely and the whole walk took us 6hours and 15 minutes so we are pretty pleased with ourselves.