Early morning departure to get ahead of the crowds on this popular 19.4km tramp. We didn’t get ahead of the weather though which descended in moist waves as we ascended. You can appreciate why the Maoris believe these peaks are sacred – and fight to maintain their dignity. The adult in me tut-tuts at the number of kids going along in trainers and no gear: so good they were enjoying themselves and to hear their laughter at the end.

The scale of the geological forces at play is hard to take in. The 45degree slither down one loose path is the most difficult of the undulating day.

The local chateau was our supper point. Faded glory hadn’t impacted on their beer prices: the only draught coming from the doors.

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