Spa in Taupo ....... Resting at the River

Trip Start Jul 27, 2008
Trip End Jan 21, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hello all once again from the other side of the world!
How unlike Chrimbo does it feel for us??  There are barely any decorations up and the weather is getting hotter and sunnier.  Anyway, I digress, here's your new blog.  We have decided to combine the two days in Taupo with the one we spent in River Valley as it was there!
We left the glow worms behind in Waitomo and headed out towards the heart of New Zealand to the small town of Taupo.  We got off just down the road when we came to a short but very beautiful bushwalk.  We walked around the lush woodland and clambered in caves which was great fun although it was only short. 
When we got back onto the bus, we had barely driven five minutes when the driver stopped at the interesting named Shearing Shed.  Thinking that we have already seen this at the sheep show we were not too bothered.  That is until the driver told us that it was indeed rabbits that were being sheered.  That's right....rabbits!!
Apparently these New Zealand breed get their haircut twice yearly as the rabbits overheat and die.  The sight of the rabbits being strapped in with their little paws was cruelly hilarious!!  What was even better was when the lady who was sheering them, turned a little handle and the rabbit swung over onto its back!  It doesn't hurt the lovely little blighters and it is a life-saving technique.  We didn't know whether to laugh or cry at such a sight!  Anyway, you'll enjoy the piccys!
 We then headed to another short walk at the stunning Huka Falls.  This was an impressive waterfall of blue/green water that squeezed through a tiny gap that is overlooked by a suspension bridge.  The views here are awesome!  After more piccys and a short rest we were off to Taupo.  We used Taupo for some much required downtime as the trip is once again catching up with us.  Luckily the YHA we were staying at had a free spa......yep, FREE!!  So we spent one afternoon looking for a new camera and the second in the spa followed by sunbathing!!  Ah that's better!
The next day saw us back on the bus and again back on the hiking trail, this time on the Taranaki Falls walk.  As the name suggests, we were again heading for another stunning water feature in Tongarrio National Park.  This was a beautiful part of the country and the walk took a good few hours to complete and the scenery made every minute of it worthwhile.  For all you Lord of the Rings fans, the mountain that the Eye of Mordor was set in (Mount Doom) was present in the background and was snow-capped.
River Valley was just that.  It was a gorgeous wooden lodge set in a deep sided valley with guess what......yep, a river beside it!  The place was simply amazing and brought you back to one with nature.  The stars shone more brightly than I have ever seen them shine......well it was 4am as we both darted OUTSIDE to go to the loo!!
Finally on the morning we were due to leave, Heather and I played out 18 holes at the lodges mini-golf course and with a few expert pointers I managed to hit the ball....more than once!!
Well I best leave it there and let you get on with the piccys.
Kia Ora everyone
J & H xx
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