The rain this morning was worse then yesterday, but leaped out of bed and swiftly left the hostel as soon as we finished breakfast. the rian left up a bit as we drove to  Whakapapa Village. We parked at the VC and walk a little ways up Bruce Road t the Silica Rapids Trailhead. It trail was what we expected from a short day hike. It went through the forest and then through tussock grass meadows as the rain randomly turned on and off. After following the river we came to Silica Rapids. Silica deposits on the rocks here made them turn a cream color. Pretty cool to see… but I really would rather be climbing. The track continued on and let out further down on Bruce Road. We followed the road about 1.5 miles back to the car-park. The total distance was 4.2 miles.

Our next track, Taranaki Falls,  led through tussock grasses and intermittently into trees along a river. The trail passes a “teaser” waterfall, before coming to the massive Taranaki Falls. Beaiful and much more interesting that the Silica Rapids. The Track also features some lovely canyons. It is a loop track of 3.7 miles.

Eric and I then got into our car and drove on SH 47 to the Rotopounamu Lake Trailhead located about 30 minutes away from the village. By now it was rainy steadily so we practically rain up the steep rainforest trail taking only 12 minutes to reach the lake. You can circuit around it, but due to the weather we only walked until we could access the beach area before turning back. It took us about 30 minutes total. A good, short, conditioner.

Eric continued our drive to Lake Taupo, the largest lake below the equator. The mist was clearing and as we drove along the edge of the lake it’s vastness became clear as well as the mountains that surrounded it.

We decided to head over to Wairakei Park in the town of Taupo. The “tourist park” as they call it, is know for its thermal area of hot springs and geysers. However, having since area charged a $35+ to enter we opted out.  I’d worked in Yellowstone and seen these formation before anyway. Instead we went to Huka Honey Hive, a shop specializing in honey from all over NZ and Mead (wine made with honey). They offered a tasting table of about 15 of their honeys (self serve). A staff member also poured samples of their mead and honey liqueurs. We sampled several varieties of alcohol and would suggest the Red Mead and Clover Cream Liqueur. They also have a cafe with honey ice cream and several coffees. Eric ordered “The buzzer”, a traditional flat white served over manuka honey chocolate.Our next stop was the famous Huka Falls just a little further down the road. It was a short walk to overlook were the lovely blue falls roared. A jet boat passed by as we watched. These boats are famous in NZ, but over priced at $95 for an hour tour.

Eric and I made our way into the large town of Taupo to our hostel: THA Taupo. This was the cleanest hostel I have ever been in. It had large decks and views of the lake. It is in the “dry” area of town, but bars and breweries are a short walk away. At night the skies cleared and Eric and I took a walk over to Crafty Trout Brewing Co. Eric purchased a sampler of 4 beers for $15 and we sat on the porch outside. Eric wasn’t too crazy about any of the beers, but he’s into dark brews and IPAs. I can’t comment as I prefer wine. We walked around the lake for about an hour before turning in.

 

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