I got a taxi at 9am to take me to the train station. My train wasn’t until 9.50am, but I didn’t really know how far it was, and you have to check in 20 minutes beforehand too. Rail transport isn’t exactly common over here: a big city with two platforms and a desolate station!
For some reason there were a few problems with the seating allocation, so we were sat at the station for fifteen minutes before they sorted that. The train was good: lots of leg room and big windows, and a decent food service. I was sat next to quite an odd lady though, out here visiting her daughter, and the third person I’ve met from Northampton since Cairns!
A lot of the scenery reminded me of Wales: still rolling green countryside and some rocky outcrops. Before you reach National Park Village, the train goes up The Spiral, because it has to go up 200 metres onto the volcanic plateau, and the incline would be too much in a straight line, so you go round and round instead.
We got into National Park Village by 1pm. My God, what a one-horse town! I expected the station to have a payphone for me to call the lodge, but it didn’t. So I waited for the queue at the cafe to disappear (this is the lunch stop for both trains), and the staff there called for me.
I was expecting Cy (pronounced ‘sigh’) to be a middle-aged woman, not a 30-year old guy! He drove us back to the hostel and gave me a quick tour. I walked to the petrol station/village store and bought some food. At 4pm Cy had to pick up the people who’d been doing the Tongariro Crossing, so I went along for the ride.