Monday, March 30, 2015

On the Road

As was beginning to become a theme for the trip we were up relatively early in the morning to pack up and hit the road out of Orewa. This time we had the luxury of not having to be up before the sun and it was about 8.30 AM before we were fed, packed and ready to go.

The goal for the day was to get to Taupo where there was a free camp ground I'd heard about. I'd had the thought that it would be fun to spend the day in Rotorua before ending up in Taupo to set the tent up before sunset so that was the loose plan going into the day.

On the road I had the thought of getting in touch with my grandparents in Tauranga to see if they were free for a catch up. I knew we didn't have time to stop off in Tauranga if we were going to do anything worthwhile in Rotorua but I thought if they were free they might like to meet us there as a good halfway point considering it's not often I get the opportunity to see them.

They got back and said they'd love to catch up so we co - ordinated to meet them for lunch in Rotorua. With a little bit of directing over the phone and the good luck the orienteering gods blessed us with our entire trip, we found our way to our meeting point; the Rotorua Pizza Hutt.

It was awesome catching up with Grandma and Grandad, and we had a pretty good feed for lunch taking advantage of an "All You Can Eat" type deal. Even with our relatively hectic schedule spurred on by Beckett's late arrival and needing to be back in Wellington in time to fly home, we managed to get an hour or so of catch up time before heading off which was nice.

Our next stop from there was to the Rotorua Luge by way of their gondolas up to the track. We each bought five rides and we started out on the intermediate level track. With neither of us having much regard for our personal safety we had some great races and terrific near misses down that track before deciding to upgrade to the advanced route.

Along the advanced track I lost count of how many times I skidded round corners with only one wheel touching the ground or almost rolled out entirely. Beckett's trouble with the turning mechanism almost sent him head into a head - on collision with one of the track dividers until he managed to make an extremely sharp turn at the absolute last second to avoid it. We had a lot of fun.

I found it funny to see how fast Beckett hurtled down the tracks without fear but almost shook with anxiety on the chairlift back to the top.

After a good day of luging and the obligatory sniff around the jelly bean shop at the top, we went back towards Rotorua to have a look at the hot pools because leaving those out would have been an unforgivable sin as a local playing host to a foreigner. 

We had a quick walk around a park in town that has a few thermal mud pools around it and dipped our toes in the naturally heated pools they have set up around the place for that purpose before calling it a day and venturing off towards our accommodation for the night.

Again, we were blessed in our ability to find our camp site just outside of Taupo, largely helped by pre - printed directions from google maps. We arrived in good time, beating out the setting sun by at least a couple of hours which was nice. We set up the tent when we got there and decided to drive into Taupo for dinner.

At Taupo, we ate and had a brief scout around of the area, including a quick look at the lake area. There wasn't really anything that I could think of that we absolutely had to do in Taupo itself so we decided that the next day we'd continue on our journey towards Wellington. I did, however, feel obligated to take Beckett by the Huka falls to check out the sheer force of nature on display there, so we planned that stop for the next morning.

To cap off an action - packed day, we set up the camping chairs we'd borrowed from mum outside our tent, and relaxed in those with a bottle of Southern Comfort and a large bottle of coke to mix. I've definitely had worse days.

My next post here will briefly touch on our visit to the Huka falls and the rest of our commute down to Wellington which went off without too much trouble.

Photo by Jake Blucker on Unsplash

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