Solo, Part Three: Rainbow Mountain

Day 4

Date: Thursday 21 July 2016

Driving Time: 5 hours

Route: Waitomo to Pureora Forest Park to Taupo to Mt Maunganui

After walking on a quite obscure trail and not hearing any kokako, I went over to Taupo for some touristy things. A quick stop at Huka Falls (mega tourist alert!!) first.

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Huka Falls

Then I furiously drove to the Aratiatia Rapids, to catch the 2 pm Opening of the Floodgates. They open the dam for half an hour, and the calm little stream turns into rushing rapids.

Then I visited Craters of the Moon, which is like Wai-O-Tapu (another geothermal park), but more boring. Also it cost like 8 dollars. Well at least I could see the mountains across the lake.

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mountains across the lake

Then for some reason I decided I was going to climb Rainbow Mountain, which was a 40 minute drive away, and try to reach the top before sunset. So I furiously drove there as well.

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the sun sets over Crater Lake on my way up
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the red and white cliffs over Crater Lake

I reached the top after probably an hour, catching the last bit of sunlight. The view from the top was decent.

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Then I hiked back down in the dark. Yay for headlamps!

Day 5

Date: Friday 22 July 2016

Driving time: 3 hours

Route: Mt Maunganui to Hahei

Mt Maunganui is a small hill on the edge of a bay, and is a popular mount to hike up. It is surrounded by a ton of stores, hotels, and touristy stuff. I stayed a night in the town, planning to climb the mount the next day and also do an obscure gold mine hike recommended by my favorite guidebook NZ Frenzy. However, Friday started off with me looking at the Mount, thinking “meh” and then driving away to buy a donut and some gas. I drove some more, then stopped and took a nap. I thought about the gold mine hike, then ate some food in Waihi instead, where they have a gold mine powerhouse that looks like an old castle from far away. Eventually I made it to Hahei, having successfully avoided all adventurous activity. Whew!

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