We by chance made our way back towards Auckland instead of Cape Reinga and caught Harrison’s (and Mom’s) first pride parade.
En-Route to Thames from Auckland, we stopped off at “The Stray-Dog Cafe” and enjoyed fresh figs with our lunch and a stroll through their butterfly garden.
Jill enjoyed some nine-years-old flashbacks of the last time she hiked to Cathedral Cove (don’t ask why the 8 didn’t show up in the comparison shot, it was in every single edit but for some reason disappears).
After our hike, we drove 5 minutes over to “Hot-Water beach” where we rented some shovels, and set about digging into the hot-spring. It can only be accessed at low tide, and as water comes out at a toasty 64 celsius, it’s tricky to find a spot with just the right amount of cool water and hot-water coming in. We lucked out and pirated an abandoned pool that was perfect “Harry temperature”. We did have to watch you quite closely as there were still hot-spots, and you’d have loved nothing more than to pool-hop and go visit all our neighbours.
On our second day in Taupo, we rented some bicycles and rode up the trail to Huka falls. The child seat that was installed for us was fairly rickety given the terrain, and Harry wound up much comfier in the carrier strapped to Matt’s back. He did manage to kick off both his shoes on the trail sometime after he woke up, and sadly, only one of them was recovered (we conveniently ascended past a Salvation Army thrift store and found a pair to see out the trip in).
Matt went jet-boating on the river below Huka falls, while Harry and I sat river-side. When going at max speed, the boat needs only 6 inches of water depth, on the route they were shown sites from “Lord of the Rings”, and “Without Paddle”.
Wai-O-Tapu was our final stop in the Taupo region, where we walked right up to hot-springs full of bubbling water, mud, and minerals causing a variety of shocking colours. Harry scowled at everything and promptly fell asleep in his carrier.
On our route to the weekend’s digs, we broke up the trip with a few stops, first at the Te-Waihou walkway to check out the Blue Spring, and after lunch, we stopped off in Matamata to show our little gollum some hobbit-holes.