Sitting on top of a volcanic plateau eating the remains of a sandwich and trying not to finish the dregs of my water bottle I thought it odd the way other walkers edged away from me. Perched on a rock between an eerily violet blue and a stunning emerald green lake I suddenly got a powerful waft of a sulphurous bad egg smell. With no one else to blame I stared around and discovered a crack in the ground steaming and hissing the disgusting smell.
I was near the top of mount Tongariro on the north island in New Zealand. The Tongariro Crossing is a 7-8 hour strenuous trek up, across and then down the central volcanic range on North Island.
New Zealand is world famous for its hiking trails – the Milford track, the Routeburn, Able Tasman; all with rigid quota restrictions, take several days and are always booked up well in advance. So not wanting to leave New Zealand without an official tramp under my belt I opted for what the tourist board describe as ‘the greatest one day hike in the country’.
This has to be Kiwi understatement; I’d vote it the greatest one-day hike in the world.