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New Zealand/2006
Japan to NZ

Napier City
Sight Seeing tour
Art Deco tour
Wine tour

Wellington City
Te Papa Museum
Location tours
-Rover Rings tour
Wine tour

Picton City
Wine tour


Rotorua City

Mount Maunganui

Sky tower
Auckland City
Location tours
Wine tour
Kauri Forests tour

NZ to Japan



Mt.Doom and Mordor tour from Auckland
I joined a location tour to Mt.Doom and Mordor, with FreewheelingNZ.com. Mordor is the dark lord Sauron's domain. Tongariro National Park was the location for the rocky barren of Mordor and it is located about 4 hours south of Auckland.

I joined three tours with FreewheelingNZ.com. I met him at least once every 2 days during my stay at Auckland. Each tour was a one-day tour, so I spent lots of time in his tour van!

Big apple
We had a lunch break on the way to Mordor. I was very hungry but I didn't order so much. Because I had to keep in shape for the long drive.
I found a big funny display, as Andy had said.

I changed tour vans at Forest Lodge and headed for Wakapapa Village, the base town of all activities in Tongariro National Park.
The Grand Chateau Hotel is located close to Wakapapa Ski Field on Mt.Ruapehu. I heard that the Lord of the Rings casts and crews stayed there for several weeks during filming. Mt.Ruapehu, one of the volcanos which was used as Mt.Doom, is behind the hotel, but I couldn't see it at all because of the clouds over the mountain.

Mt.Doom in Mordor, the final destination where Frodo and Sam headed to destroy the One Ring
A World Heritage site, Tongariro National Park is made up of three major active volcanos, Mt.Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro. Many places in the park were used in lots of scenes of the movie and they became the barren wilderness of Mordor, the slope of Mt.Doom and the rocky wasteland of Emyn Muil. But a large scale model and computer graphics were combined with the long shots of the volcanos so it was hard to identify the exact location of the movie.
Mt.Tongariro(1967m) in the left, Mt.Ngauruhoe(2291m) in the center and Mt.Ruapehu(2797m) in the right. I was supposed to be able to see them from here. Sadly, it was raining and the mountains were covered with low clouds. They had just disappeared!

Tongariro Crossing in Tongariro National Park
I heard that it was one of the most spectacular walking tracks in New Zealand. It is a walk taking about 7 hours between Mt.Tongariro and Ngauruhoe, a distance of 17km one way. I thought that it would be too hard for me because I'm really out of shape these day! However, I hope to try it to feel like the Hobbits heading for Mt.Doom, one day.

Tawhai Falls
It was a tiny waterfall situated in the forest at the lower level of Whakapapa Village. The walk from a sign board to the Tawhai Falls took about 15 minutes each way. The rock pool of the fall reminded me of Henneth Annun in the movie "The Two Towers".

We had a coffee break at the hut in Whakapapa Village, the base town of tracking.

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