We just got back this afternoon, from a weekend at Whakapapa, staying at a tramping club lodge with about 30 other people.
Several friends, some of whom I've known since primary school, were going to be there. Also, I was looking to forward to a weekend away in which it wasn't just the two of us. The promise of walks was a super-bonus...
I haven't done any tramping in years, and I didn't think my boy was up to it - he's a chain smoker and I've never seen him excercise on a regular basis - so I thought we'd be looking to do a short stroll here and there while the others were out doing the Tongariro Crossing (which apparently takes about 8 hours to complete).
We were spared from deciding whether to do that particular trip however, because we didn't turn up until late Saturday afternoon. On the following day, most people wanted to do something a little shorter, such as the 4-5 hr walk up to the crater lake on Ruapehu. And this is the one we joined up with.
This walk consisted of 2 ski-lift rides which took us most of the way up (in beautiful weather), then a scramble on loose dirt and boulders, then zig-zagging up the soft-snow covered slopes to the ridge, then a walk along the ridge to Dome Hut which overlooks the crater lake.
My boy did bloody well for a sedentary computer-game-addict. He not only insisted on carrying my gear in his daypack, but managed to get to the ridge before succumbing to oxygen-deprivation. So he stayed there, and I kept him company (I was well fit for the full trip, honest!), and other 5 in our group continued on.
Then we had to run/slide back down to catch the last chair-lift back to the village or suffer the consequences i.e. an additional 2.5 hour walk to get back. My claim to fame on this leg of the journey was spectacularly bad slide down a portion of the slope, in which I totally lost control and ended up going head first (though face up) for about 20 metres. And then I had to trek back up a bit to retrieve my sunglasses.
We finished off with a soak in hot mineral springs, after which I almost nodded off to sleep even though it was only about 7pm.