This morning we woke up in the usual freezing cold, turning to sweltering heat. We hadn’t had access to a shower so we were both pretty cranky. We decided that we needed to bathe and the Waikato River was right next to us. Yes, we bathed in the freezing cold river with people in their winter coats watching us (this time we wore bathing suits though). It was awful (though not as bad as our last river swimming experience), but we felt invigorated and a million times better afterwards.
There are many things that are difficult about the backpacker existence: not knowing where you are going to sleep the next night, where you will be, what you will eat, where you will shower or use the toilet. It puts my pampered life at home into perspective. Everything is so easy when you are in your comfort zone; a shower is always available as is your kitchen. You never worry about where you are going to find a sink so you can wash your hands to take our your contacts or when you will next have a hot meal (we haven’t had access to a stovetop since we left Moana). I truly feel that I appreciate the things that I have taken for granted in the past. Perhaps this has been a character building experience. One of the biggest changes for me, aside from rewearing previously worn clothes over and over and not showering every day, is my view on public toilets. I am so thankful to find public toilets and I actually feel cleaner after washing my hands in them (or using the sink to bathe, you do what you gotta do). I have always avoided them like the plague, but now I’m excited to see a free public bathroom.
(This is our bed in the back of our Ford Mondeo hatchback.)
Anyways, after we cleaned up, we headed to Huka Falls. It is just down the river from our campsite. It wasn’t what we expected, although it was neat. It was less a waterfall than a section of rapids that moves very quickly. The water churned up and looked completely white.
Afterwards, we visited the Isite in town to book our Waitomo caves experience. We will be spending five hours abseiling (rappelling) down into the caves, black water rafting (floating through the black water), seeing the glow worms and rock climbing out again. It sounds absolutely terrifying and unbelievably cool.
We spent the afternoon having a leisurely lunch along the banks of Lake Taupo, enjoying the amazing views of the mountains that we hiked yesterday across the water. We rewarded ourselves for our exertion with cheesecake filling and gluten-free cookies, since we couldn’t fashion an actual cheesecake in our current location. We sat on the beach for a couple hours and wandered around town. So far, Taupo is the only place besides Wellington where I could see myself living.
Ps. Although my entire body is aching, Lindsay is barely sore at all! I don’t know how she managed it. She claims it is from all of the hospitality work that she has done during the past several months.