Nov. 22 – Taupo – day one

We left rainy Whangarei at 9:40am.  It only took a half hour to get out of the wet into overcast skies with a bit of blue peeking through.  Not much further and we were in blue skies with a slight cool breeze.  Spring really is here.  We drove through agricultural land full of cows, horses, sheep, then large tree farms.  Everywhere green.  Oh and painted cow butts.  Not sure what that’s about.

Arrived Taupo about 4pm.  It sits along Lake Taupo with all the convenient stores we like plus lots of restaurants an easy walk away.  A huge Bin Inn, walks along the lake, plenty of sports activities.  We met an interesting Maori guy staying at the hostel who works at the hydroelectric power plant in town.   He talked a lot about the 100 year land grant coming to a close in NZ and the political difficulties for the Maories.  He’s also into Nascar racing.

This is our first experience staying in backpacking places so we’ve devised a rating system that we’ll use along the way – just in case anyone wants to consider these type of accommodations.

Blackcurrent Backpackers was a friendly and convenient first experience for us.  Having never stayed at a hostel before we weren’t sure what to expect.  Beth was friendly and helpful.  Here’s our rating for hostel experience:  Friendliness–great; Community–young, quiet, shy until you start a conversation then really fascinating; Room–stayed in double with en suite (bathroom in the rood), good shower, comfortable; Kitchen–well equipped lots of activity w/people hanging out and friendly; Facilities–has laundry you pay for, internet you pay for, parking free; Neighborhood–great, everything within walking distance, including the lake and park – we loved it.

On our way out of town this was my Thanksgiving meal.  Delicious.  Mashed potatoes and mushrooms.  Note the rain on the windshield.

Jim noticed this when we were walking along the Lake Taupo.  Fancy grates over the storm drains.

Wish I knew what these pink trees were called.  We saw them everywhere on the drive down.

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