Adventures in New Zealand #21 - The Houses of Healing (08/07/2014)
Seeing as this post and the last are fairly linked, at least geographically and by a photo album, it seemed fitting to do this post in fairly rapid succession to the last.
I mentioned in the last post about waking up in the cold, but that was nothing compared to the morning we had - this time we woke up to frost. Everywhere. The tent was frozen, the ground was frozen, the duck were frozen, freezing mist rose off the water (which observant followers would have seen an instagram post of at the time) and one poor person left a pair of jeans our overnight.
Still it cold have been worse. A Irish gentleman in one of the vans decided it was a good idea to have a dip in the water. Can’t say I was at all convinced to follow…
Anyhow, as the morning went on we eventually defrosted and made our way back into Taupo. Our hostel for the night, the Rainbow Lodge, not much more of a walk than the previous day’s, being located right in the town centre.
Much to our surprise we were treated to luxury. Now after a frozen night in a tent any structure with a roof and bed would seem luxurious, but this hostel went that much further. Underfloor heating, en-suite shower in the dorm, the cold of the previous night was soon fading from memory - I think we had earnt our reward, and hence the title of this particular entry, The Houses of Healing, as that is what they were to us (not half bad for choosing the best value hostel I could).
The bunks were fascinating too, the undersides covered in graffiti by previous travellers - photos of some particular highlights in the album. Of particular note is a message in runes, which I of course have since translated. Curiously, at least from the sources I used, it seemed to a mix of real viking and Tolkien Dwarvish, the former obviously being inspiration for the latter, but it may all be genuine viking, using different variations - I’m not exactly an expert. (Translation in album caption)
Actually having most of a day in hand we spent time in Taupo itself, having a good explore of the town. While it was, again, small and functional with nothing particularly of note, Tauo definitely has a feel of personality the more northern towns and cities I’ve visited have lacked. Lake Taupo is the biggest Lake in New Zealand, having it’s own tide, and directly across it we could see the snow capped mountains that were our final destination, it was quite a sight.
In the evening, to further indulge in our relaxation, and to celebrate our temporary return to civilisation, we attended a local cinema to see How to Train your Dragon 2. I’ve not had chunky please-return-after-the-film-has-finished 3D glasses like these since Avatar, it felt a bit retro (If 2009 can count as retro). The film itself was excellent and took a surprisingly dark tone for what is primarily a kids film.
During the day we considered our options for the rest of the journey. The original plan was to have us go to a campsite further down the lake, but knowing the original supposed walking distance wasn’t going to be plausible (plus I hadn’t paid any money towards the site) it seemed a better idea to book passage by giant eagle to the small town of Turangi, much closer to the mountains and guaranteeing we’d actually reach our final destination on time.
Some quick hostel research and a phone call later I also had us a place for the night, and once more looking at the cheapest option would turn out far better than we could possibly expect…