The weather forecast was correct and the day dawned fine but cool. By the time we reached our start point the temperature was reading a chilly 11c, well chilly for mid summer but then we were 860m above sea level.
I had suggested to Ruth that we climb Fanthams Peak but she sensibly said that it was far too early in our adventure to be undertaking a climb like that. I pointed out that the Tongariro Crossing would be similar but she said that we would be fitter by then. We opted to do a loop walk; up, down and around.
As it transpired, the 11km walk that we did was exhausting enough, the initial climb up to 1200m was steady but the drop down through the bush to 600m was quite challenging. We decided that we are uphill kind of people. However, there was plenty to keep our interest. At 1200m it was stunted shrubbery and mountain flowers, especially mountain foxglove and daisies. But as we descended the trees grew taller and heavily moss covered, goblin forest is the term locals use to describe it.
There were several stream crossings and one particularly high suspension bridge that was not a great idea if you suffer from vertigo.
After 4.5 hours we were happy to find our way back to the car. We agreed it was a very pleasant walk. The car park at the Dawson Falls visitor center was full, people everywhere, but the tracks were deserted. They did not know what they were missing.