The Myth, The Legend
Love, Betrayal, Exile and Regret…
In the time before people walked the earth, Mt Taranaki had as his wife the beautiful maiden Mt Ruapehu. This was a love for the ages, Taranaki provided for Ruapehu and cherished her.
On one such trip when Taranaki was away hunting, sly Mount Tongariro wooed Ruapehu and won her heart.
On returning from the hunt Taranaki surprised the pair in their betrayal and in a fit of rage attacked Tongariro. Terrific though the struggle was, Taranaki was eventually defeated by Tongariro and in shame and despair he left. He made his way to the sea at what is now the city of Whanganui and from there north up the cost to where he now sits on the western most point of the North Island.
On his way to exile he carved up the landscape and created what we now call the Whanganui River.
While doing the Alpine Crossing you will be on devious Tongariro, his rumblings are said to be his simmering anxiety that Taranaki will one day return to reclaim his love. To the south of the crossing stands Ruapehu, she still loves Taranaki and occasionally emits a deep sigh of regret at her betrayal of him so long ago.
Less obvious on the crossing itself is the spurned husband Taranaki.
When driving back from the end of the crossing there is a 6 kilometre dead straight piece of road just before National Park Village. On a clear day if you look straight ahead and then slightly to the left there sits Taranaki. Still waiting, brooding, perhaps plotting his revenge on Tongariro. The occasional wisp of cloud from his peak a blown kiss to his lost love.
A better explanation than time, pressure, geology and plate tectonics I think.