An endurance test for Community leader at Mt Ruapehu

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Ella Kumar and Hitesh on top of Mt Ruapehu (Photo Supplied)

Ella Kumar
Auckland, January 16, 2022

My husband Hitesh and I have had the exhilarating experience of going on many walks through National Parks and hold with pride, our feat of crossing the Tongariro five times.

Reaching the top of Mt Ruapehu and checking out its crater has been a long-time passion. But we have thus far been hesitant as the altitude changes as one climbs higher.

However, we took the challenge this year and thankfully, achieved it.

We felt as though we had scaled Mt Everest as it was a continuous climb with a variety of environmental challenges, rocks, snow gravel and a lot more.

Our first hour was from the beginning, walking up steep gravel hills.

This was the checkpoint whether you can continue the rocky climb as well.

After 10 kms and seven hours, we were to reach the top of Mt Ruapehu.

I now believe that age is no limit to venturing into new activities so long as we are determined and healthy. We will cherish this achievement.

This is not a track and compared to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, less stable. This walk requires a good level of fitness. The terrain is uneven and steep in places. It is possible to take the walk as far as Knoll Ridge Cafe if you are concerned about your fitness.

Feet away from the great achievement: Ella Kumar and Hitesh on top of Mt Ruapehu (Photo Supplied)

About Mt Ruapehu

Mt Ruapehu is located in the Central Plateau of North Island in the UNESCO dual-World-Heritage Tongariro National Park, listed for its cultural and geological significance.

Along with the Whanganui National Park nearby, this area is one of New Zealand’s premium outdoor destinations. The mountain, at its peaks, has strong spiritual links for local iwi. It is often referred as Koro (Grandad) Ruapehu.

There are two ski areas on the mountain- Whakapapa (open in Summer for sightseeing on the country’s longest gondola, the Sky Waka, and Tūroa.

The Summer Alpine experience, open until May 1, 2022, the Sky Waka gondola transports guests 1.8 kms up and through the North Island’s most rugged and spectacular landscape, to an altitude of 2020 m above sea level. Floor to ceiling views on the return Sky Waka gondola journey, you can capture a unique, volcanic terrain, and panoramas out to neighbouring mountains, Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe.

A symbol of the future

The Waka, celebrated by name in song and story by Maori poets and orators, is more than a voyaging canoe, more than a carrier of people; it carries family. All Maori people have lineal ties with the Chiefs of the great waka.

Ella Kumar is an elected member of the Local Board of Puketapapa (Mt Roskill) and a Health and Fitness Educator. She lives in Auckland.

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