This was my fourth crossing attempt but only my second full trip. I had previously done it from the Northern (Ketetahi side), finishing on the west (Mangatepopo) side with Alan Rogers, Ian & Jim Bardsley and John Barrell in 1993 after our Ruapehu RTM tramp see Tongariro 1. I had taken Benjamin and Michael up to the Ketetahi Hut but one of them wasn't able to continue and some time later I had taken Shirley and Martin up the Mangatepopo side as far as the South Crater.
This time I was taking Michael again, along with Phun Yau Sing (Mr Phun, the father of my daughter-in-law).
Access & accommodation: I had arranged for Michael and Mr Phun to catch the "Overlander" Tranz Scenic train from Auckland (Britomart Transportation Centre) to National Park where I would meet them and we would stay at the Skotel (Ruapehu) for two nights, following which I would drive us all back to Auckland. The scheduled arrival of 1250hr was delayed some hours so I had some time to kill on the way from Hawera to National Park.
On this trip I took the front harness and the Nikon D60 digital SLR with a Sigma DC 18-200 zoom lens (f3.5-6.3, Optical Stabiliser) and yet another expensive new polarising filter (last one came out of its thread on a helicopter flight).
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Mr Phun (Penang, Malaysia): Camera = Pentax Optio MX4 10 x optical zoom [3.2MP] - photo ID=MP
Michael Blayney (Auckland, now Brisbane): Camera = Nikon COOLPIX 3100 [3MP] - photo ID=MB
Keith Blayney [yours truly] (Hawera): Camera = Nikon D60 SLR digital [10.2MP] - photo ID=KB
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