Waitomo Caves and on to Lake Taupo

Trip Start Jun 27, 2008
Trip End Jul 07, 2008

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Where I stayed
Taupo DeBretts Spa Resort

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Sunday, June 29, 2008

Against all odds we made it out the door before 8am. The lady at reception said we'd even beat the tourist buses to the caves. She was spot on. We made good time even through the pea soup fog and were at the tourist counter a bit after 9. Unfortunately all tours were booked out and the first available time was 12pm. We talked it over and decided against waiting 3 hrs. Lesson learned #1 - Book ahead.

A quick check in lonely planet and we found an alternate route to Lake Taupo with a pitstop and bushwalk at Pureora. By the time we arrived at the national park the fog had cleared and the rain had started. The car said it was 6 degrees outside but with the rain and wind it felt much colder. We rugged up with all our water proof gear, gloves and mittens and had some fun.

Back in the car and we headed for Lake Taupo. It was very pleasant when the sun came out, with the heated seats, and the radio cranked right up listening to some great aussie tunes from the ipod - INXS, Hoodoo Gurus and Crowded House. Their hit "Four seasons in one day" certainly described the weather in NZ....maybe they toured here?

Made it to Taupo for lunch and had our first glimpse of the snow covered peaks in the distance. The city got off to a bad start when Melinda had to pay 40c to use the public toilet. Lunch by the lake was very cold. We headed to Aratiatia Rapids to see the dam flood gates opened - very impressive to see the river level rise several meters while the gates are open. Also checked out Huka Falls where the Waikato river looks a lot meaner than we saw at Hamilton.

Quote of the day from Josh upon letting out some gas "that was the Dark Smell of the Force" How proud we are. Also the tooth fairy found Josh in New Zealand - he was very excited.
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