Since Leandra and I didn't make it all the way to Taupo yesterday, we decided to get up early so we could do the additional km. Yeah...that didn't happen. I set my watch alarm for 6:00 but, once again, I must have slept through it because when I woke up it was 6:30. We packed up pretty quick, but then we started talking to Tilmann and Tatsu (that is the now correct spelling). Actually, Tatsu and I were waiting while Tilmann had Leandra held in captive conversation. When it was getting on to 8:30 (we had hoped to leave at 7:30), I told Leandra we needed to get going. Tilmann still wasn't feeling well, so him and Tatsu were only going to Taupo (thus, I think Tilmann was in no hurry).
As we took off from Golden Springs, it was pretty foggy. We wondered if some of the fog is caused by all the thermal activity. By about 45 minutes into the ride, the sun was shining so we stopped to apply sunscreen. Tatsu caught up to us and said Tilmann had told him to go ahead. He would meet him at McDonalds in Taupo at 1:00.
We finally got to the turn off for Huka Falls. By then it was about 11:00 so we decided to stop at The Hub Cafe (bean riding?) for a mid-morning snack. We had fresh, warm chocolate chip/banana muffins and I had hot chocolate (with a lovely pink marshmallow). The cafe was at one of the places where the helicopters take off to fly over the falls and the other geothermal areas (such as Craters of the Moon). So, while we were enjoying our muffins, the helicopters were taking off and landing right outside the door. Kind of weird.
After our snack we rode down to the falls. Huka Falls was not the largest falls I've ever seen, but certainly the most beautiful color of water! The water flows through a pretty narrow gorge. It's all frothy and foamy and a beautiful aquamarine color (see the photos below)! "Huka" in Maori means "Foam". It was definitely foamy!
From Huka Falls, we rode back up to the main road. When we got to a scenic outlook (looking down to Lake Taupo), the Bike Victoria group was there (we had seen the tail end of them at Fitzgerald's Glade Cafe--where we got the free food from the support crew). We think they were finishing for the day in Taupo (we saw all the luggage in Taupo). A mother and young daughter rode into the lookout on a tandem Bike Friday. The mom said the little girl had been riding the tandem since she was 5. I got several questions about Da Brim. The people my age wanted to know where I got it.
Tatsu was also at the lookout. He had been there for awhile (even dried out his tent). We were not far from McDonalds. After taking photos, Leandra and I headed down into town. From the lookout we could see a Pak 'n Save (big yellow building) but when we got into town, we decided to try a Countdown store instead. It was pretty good. Prices were pretty close to Pak 'n Save.
After restocking we looked for McDonalds. Who should we happen to see at McDonalds? Why, Tatsu, of course! Tilmann was in Taupo, but not at McDonalds. We said goodbye to Tatsu (he was headed out) and went into Mickey D's for lunch and wifi.
Since we still had 50 km to go to get to Turangi, we didn't dawdle too long in McDonalds. We wish we had had more time to visit the beach in Taupo. Because of the thermal activity, the beach sand is warm. In fact if you dig down a bit, it's is downright hot!
We followed the lake edge and rode out of Taupo. Basically, we had to ride to the other end of the lake (it's a big lake!). It was quite scenic riding along the lake. It was nice and sunny until we got further south. There were some nasty looking clouds ahead of us. Still, we pushed on, determined to make it to Turangi.
Just before the town limits of Turangi, it started to sprinkle. We had no idea where we would be staying in Turangi. As we were about to go inquire at the iSite info area, we saw a place called Parkland Motor Lodge. They also have tent sites. We decided it was fine for us. Whew! We made it! It ended up being about 57 miles. Of course it has continued to rain off and on. Our tents will be good and soaked...again.