Last week I thought, seeing autumn was upon us, I would venture back up into the mountains of Tongariro National Park – boy was I in for a surprise!

It’s an easy drive for me – 1 1/2  hours drive gets me into the thick of it, from where I can venture out to a volcanic landscape, scattered with dramatic waterfalls, rock gardens and amazing micro-flora that hang onto life in this inhospitable environment. You have to pick your weather and be prepared to turn back when your ‘this is getting stupid’ alarm goes off – just like this time.

On the face of it, what should have been a straightforward day out with a couple of hours walk to a picturesque waterfall that I wanted to revisit, turned out to be one of those ‘now let’s be sensible’ trips. My driving destination was about 5000 feet and as I arrived I realised I had a problem. The low off the western coast of New Zealand had strengthened and was driving a series of mean fronts across the mountains. From a bright sunny day the wispy clouds developed at speed into a cascading buildup that quickly enveloped the tops and fell down to me with a roaring wind and plummeting temperatures.

Time to turn right around and beat a hasty retreat. The waterfall will be there for another day!

Weather Bomb in Tongariro