Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kyushu adventure - days 4 & 5

Nathan decided to get up at 4.30am the next morning to tramp up Karakunidake - a 1700m extinct volcano, the highest point in the National Park. He decided to go at that time of the morning in hope of being at the top in time for a stunning sunrise... it was pure bad luck that only about 15minutes after he set off it started to rain! Being the real trouper that he is he carried on the hour it took him to get to the top and thankfully only 20mins after getting there the rain stopped at the clouds cleared. “Although it wasn’t the spectacular clear views I had hoped for the views were still stunning and it was a great way to start to my Japanese tramping adventures.” Back at the tent by 8am to find me still sleeping (hehehe) we packed everything up and went for a 2 hour walk around some stunningly beautiful volcanic lakes. Needless to say Nathan had had a busy morning and was pretty tired! So instead of battling the traffic on the free highways we decided to splurge out and took the expressway further north to Kumamoto. Normal roads in Japan even the highways have a speed limit of 50kms an hour. Toll roads on the other hand have limits of 80kms... but as there are absolutely no police most people drive at about 140kms... not us... I was a stickler for keeping Nathan at 100kms! Once on the road we decided to change plans slightly and rather than stay in Kumamoto the night we went straight through to another of Japan’s massive active volcanoes called Aso-Caldera. This is actually the world’s biggest volcanic crater with complete towns situated inside it... a sight you only understand by seeing it. In the middle are the five ‘new’ peaks that were formed in a huge eruption 20,000 years ago... these are all still fully active and regular throw stuff up in the sky. We camped on the side of this volcano in another pretty good campsite. We got up nice and early the next morning to try and beat the crowds up to the massive crater viewing spot... it was sooooo amazing! We were blown away! I have no idea how to explain what it was like! I don’t think we realised we were actually inside a volcano until we got to the viewing platform and looked down inside! Incredible! Again we took a million photos! This is one of the places we will definitely take any visitors that come here as it’s only about 2 hours from our house and has some good tramping trips around it that Nathan is dying to do!
So that’s our trip... like I said we had the most amazing time! We loved every minute of it! From start to finish it was 950kms... we came in well under budget and have memories that will no doubt last a lifetime!