Thursday 13th February we went to the beautiful Tongariro National park. The journey started at the BP station of Papakura, where I went straight after school. The van that was supposed to pick us up was a bit later than expected, but this didn't keep us down. After about 1.5 hours there they were. Some of the students were from district 9920 and also all the kids from district 9910. It was lovely meeting these kids; for me, this was the first time seeing them in person. It was an excellent experience to meet other rotary exchange students. We also met the chaperones for the weekend. It was a very long drive. We stopped to get some dinner at dominos. Luckily the ride went smoothly and was good talking with everybody arrived around 10 pm in Turangi holiday park all tired and ready for bed.
Once upon arrival, we saw some of our friends from the South Island trip. They were students from district 9940, and we haven't seen each other in over two months.  We had four rooms, 2 for the boys and 2 for the girls they were rooms for four people in bunk beds. So we unpacked and went straight to bed.
The next day we needed to be up at 7 am such big sleep in for me. The people who needed to help with breakfast were supposed to get up straight away. The other students were allowed to stay half an hour longer. After an excellent breakfast, we were ready to climb a mountain.
The first track of the weekend was the climbing of Mount Ruapehu on the side of Whakapapa. The road was hard because the entire time we were walking straight up the mountain. The walk required us to observe where we were walking because some of the rocks were loose.  But after multiple breaks and 3 hours of walking we reached the top of the mountain. It was something I have never seen in my life. It looked like another planet, and we could enjoy the view for a little while longer because we had our lunch on top. The way down must be the funniest thing I ever did. The mountain still had a lot of snow on it, so we decided to slide down the mountain. We wrapped our raincoats around our waist and started. The sliding was much and much faster than expected, but we had a perfect time. Even some of the chaperones joined in. After we were back in the campsite, the chaperones took us to a geothermal bathhouse to relax and enjoy ourself. When we returned a second time to the campsite, the dinner was ready. The chaperones prepared lasagna for us, which was delicious and precisely what we needed after such a long walk. We played some card games and talked during the night and after everybody went to bed.
The next day we were supposed to do the Tongariro crossing this was after all the reason we came on the trip. But unfortunately, a person had passed away from a heart attack. According to Maori tradition, rāhui, this restricted the access on the track for the Maori Wanikau to respect the family.
Of course, we all had respect for this tradition, but we couldn't say we were not disappointed. So we did another track, we walked the Tongariro southern circuit. It was a long walk of 25km, but we very much enjoyed it. We were split up in two groups and met up in the middle to have dinner together. At the end of the day, we were happy to be done with the walk, so after ice cream, we were all satisfied and ready to head back to the campsite. We all came back tired, and to be honest, prepared to go to sleep. We had a good dinner again, with on the menu a chilli con carne with some pita bread. And a delicious dessert of apple pie. After we played some more card games but this night it wasn't going to be too late.
The last day we had a sleep in with waking up at 8 am. Had breakfast and after started to pack our bags for the journey back. It wasn't easy saying goodbye again to the people from district 9940. The drive back, unfortunately, wasn't as easy as the drive to the national park. Firstly the car of the chaperones had battery problems, and the traffic wasn't the greatest. But in the end, we made it back to Papakura train station, and it was the right end of a fantastic weekend. It couldn't be any better with the conditions we had. And we had beautiful weather, so no complaints from me I was delighted that I was able to participate in this event.