Hi everyone! Good news - I’m still alive! My hotel in Taupo does not have working internet (despite the “Free WiFi” sign at reception…), so I’ve been off the grid for a few days.
But fret not! I have been fastidiously writing my entries each day, so tomorrow night at this time I should be able to put up 2 or 3 posts (I’m going back to a hotel I’ve already been to in Hamilton, which I know has internet…$15/2 hours, but still, internet…).
Just as a little teaser, I am (as already mentioned) in Taupo, home of “Great Lake Taupo.” It is cold! This place really reminds me of Lake George in the Adirondacks, for those who have been there. I am definitely here in the off season - the streets of town are basically restaurant after restaurant, each one with about 2 people in it. Overall it’s really nice, and by about 10 or 11AM it gets decently warm (must have gotten up close to 60 F today).
Anyway, on Wednesday I did the Waitomo Caves (Waitomo, Aranui, and Raukuri), yesterday I visited Craters of the Moon Park, Huka Falls, and did a nice walk from the falls along the Waikato River. Today I drove down to Tongariro National Park, and ended up doing a long walk along the Tongariro River. You may notice I did not mention the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, which I had been really looking forward to. Unfortunately the weather in the park was awful, so I wasn’t able to do it. While I am a little bummed, I did drive up to the top of one of the mountains in the park today - my car said it was 2 C (~35 F), it was raining, and visibility was about 20 feet (I have a picture I’ll have to post tomorrow). So all in all, I guess I have to accept that it was probably better to miss the crossing, since I wouldn’t have seen anything anyway, and it would have been pretty miserable. Next trip to NZ I guess! The river walk was about an hour north of the park, and more like 14 C (~55 F), sunny, and not raining!
Tomorrow I hit the road again for Hamilton, but will be going by way of Rotorua to see some of the “thermal attractions.” By the way, having the car here is great, except for the buying gas part. Holy crow, it is something like $2.15/liter. My metric to dumb American unit conversion is limited to temperatures and distances, but let me tell you, that is not cheap. It costs over $50 for HALF a tank of gas (at this point I’ve used a full tank and spent about $110, with probably at least another half to three quarters needed to get me back to Auckland). Eeek!
OK, time to get some dinner, and then walk back to the hotel (I’m staying about a 20 minute walk from town, which is nice except it is VERY chilly tonight). I guess I could drive, but what fun is that. G’night all!