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Published: February 7th 2010
We got a rare opportunity to sleep in this morning. Some of the group were on their cave adventures this morning and we had to fill some time. The Kiwi guide Flea scheduled a hike at a nearby trail before we headed to Taupo. Elyse and I were a little bruised and sore from our caving experience but we were up for a little hike.
We arrived at the trail head about ten minutes after boarding the bus. The trail brought us thru lush forest winding and looping its way up and down the steep hill side. It was a pretty easy 30 minute hike and some even completed it with flip flops. The main attraction of this hike was when the trail entered a large cavern some 30 ft above the cave floor. It made for a pretty cool photo.
On our way back to the bus we saw some cavers climbing out of a little cave with inner tubes. These people were on the shorter of the cave tours offered in the area. One by one they emerged from the cave looking probably how we looked the day before. Amazed and bewildered at the events that had
just taken place in the crazy underground world.
After the hike we arrived at the Angora Shearing Shed; aka by me as the bunny shaving place. It was a little odd but it was free. It sort of reminded us of the lame side trips that you take when you book a city tour in other countries. In our first visit to China we visited the Great Wall and Ming Tomb, of course there was also the side trip to the Jade jewelry store and the silk factory. In Tokyo we toured the city and visited a pearl shop. Most recently when in Korea we were forced to visit an Amethyst jewelry store. Every time you spend way too much time at these locations and there is always one or two morons that get back on the bus 15 - 20 minutes later than the scheduled departure time. Well the place had all sorts of Angora knitted sweaters, scarves, mitts and socks. Not to ideal of a location for a bunch of backpackers that valued every inch of space in their packs. Not to mention it was in the middle of summer here and no one in their right
mind thinks of buying a bunny coat. It was worth it since we got to see some old lady strap a bunny down by all fours and shave it down. Also important to note not a single person lagged behind. The bunny had been shaved, the show was over, on to the bus.
On the bus ride to Taupo Flea put on the movie The Bucket List. What a proper movie to watch since we are on a life time adventure. It had been awhile since Elyse and I had seen that movie and enjoyed it again. It was a few hours later when we arrived in Taupo. We first stopped at Huka Falls where the volume of water that fills an Olympic size pool flows over every SECOND. WOW..
Elyse and I didn’t make a reservation at the Base Hostel that most of the people stayed. We found the Base experience to be quite painful. Typically there is some sort of bar attached to the property that blasts bad music until 2 in the morning. We had Flea drive us down the road to another Hostel. It was booked up but we got of the bus in
that location. Across the street we found another Backpacker setup which looked nice enough. The rate was $90 for the night but we got it for $66. The reason being is that the woman called another hostel to check on availability and rates. Instead of having us walk the 20 minutes down the road she just gave us the same rate. We were pretty happy about that.
We checked in changed into our swim suits and headed to the lake. We ate sandwiches next to the water. We heard that there were some thermal pools a short hike away and decided that this would be our plan for the evening. We stopped by the store to get some dinner for the evening. We bought some pasta, meat, sauce, and garlic bread. We like it when we can cook our own meals to save money.
The thermal pools were about a 25 minute hike up the road. We traveled parallel to the river and entered a large park. There were signs for the thermal pools. At first glance it seemed everyone was scrunched together in one area. The thermal springs bubbled up from the ground and were perched some
five feet above the lake. The pools cascaded water down into the river. There was a bridge that passed over the small thermal falls. We opted to sit in the upper area where no one was sitting. We both put our feet in and we quickly realized why no one was sitting in that area. It was way too hot. The river below was cold and the ideal spot was where the hot and cold water merged with each other. Some spots the upper half of your body was nice and warm while the lower half was much colder. After a while we found our happy median and sat for about an hour.
That nigh we sat on the balcony in the kitchen area and ate our dinner. There was a view of the lake which made it that much nicer. We washed our plates and retreated to our room for the evening.
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