The Taupo Sea
As we drove back up north to Taupo, we circumnavigated Lake Taupo, which very much appeared to be the ocean on this windy day. It hardly looked like a lake.
Though I’d wanted us to avoid eating out to pretend that we were still camping in the Tongariro wilderness, we were both hungry and decided to eat at Taupo’s local sandwich shop, Subway. After that, it was time to check in to our hostel for the night, the YHA Taupo.
YHA Taupo was cheap, stylish, and central. Our room shared a real bathroom with two other double rooms, which felt more like an apartment than a hostel. We had a shared balcony area that overlooked the main “”hip hangout area”” and the kitchen was big and well-stocked.
We spent the day on a long walk playing Pokemon, which was a great way to see the Taupo city. On our way back to the YHA, we stopped by the grocery store to get more food.
Since I was still pretending that we were camping, for dinner we had penne pasta with canned tuna and olive oil. I did throw in a 99 cent loaf of bakery bread from the grocery store to placate Hayden, who had gotten really grumpy that we couldn’t just get takeout. In the end, he happily consumed the tuna-flavored meal and remarked that just the naan from an Indian takeout place would have cost the same as our whole meal.
In the morning, we had more oatmeal to continue our pretend backpacking journey through the north island. The only sight we really wanted to see was the Huka Falls, a waterfall that was apparently pretty wicked.
Huka Falls was not just a waterfall — it was a Pokemon Gym. There was a Bulbasaur nest where I caught THREE Bulbasaurs. Then, to make things even better, we did a Wartortle raid and got ourselves strong Wartortles.
Also, the falls were pretty dang wicked. It was not what I had expected. The falls went across a pretty short drop and they were chaotic as hell. “It’s beautiful, and terrifying,” Hayden remarked, the rushing water reflected starkly in his eyes.
We saw a river cruise boat come close to the falls for people to get an expensive photo, but the boat did not dare enter. I wondered if people raft down this river. Hayden said that that would be TOO scary.
Hayden had left his camp stove at the Ohakune Airbnb, so we passed through Ohakune on our way down to Mangaweka, our final destination for that day. With the camp stove secured, I decided that I was far too hangry to stand it any longer, and took us to Utopia Cafe again for lunch. Once again, we got a bagel, smoothie, and a chai latte. I believe Hayden got a sandwich. This cafe was really very cute, thus our second visit, and I took a photo in case one day I wanted to open a cute cafe of my own.
Mangaweka was an hour south of Ohakune. We’d be staying in a cheap Airbnb that we had found in a rush. It was to be a memorable one!