.. Mount Doom that is (or Ngauruhoe as they call it here in NZ). It is located in the Tongariro National Park and we set off in lovely weather to walk ‘ The Crossing’. This is a great walk ! and tough even if you don’t include the side trips to the tops of the volcanoes (and boy is Mt Doom steep !). One by one we ticked off the milestones: the Mangatepopo Hut, Soda Springs, South Crater, Red Crater – on and on went our intrepid duo until exhausted, we reluctantly had to turn back again (only to cross paths with youngsters setting off mid afternoon to sprint the whole thing including the ‘3 hour’ side trips before it got dark !)
But we weren’t done yet ! Down the road a little way is a tiny airfield offering scenic flights, so we went to enquire about the following day and they said ’why not now ?’ – so we did. The 4-seater plane was parked in the garden and after taxiing across the lawn we took off and spent a wonderful 25 mins in perfect viz (technical term) flying round and over the path we had walked plus looking down into the highest craters and the other (even higher)volcano in the Park, Tahurangi. From the air you appreciate the full majesty of these volcanoes and the very different nature of their various craters – the top of the North Crater for instance is totally flat like it has been sliced off.