We had an early start yesterday on the express bus to Auckland. We were only going halfway, to Taupo, but since it’s the express bus, it made only a few stops and no hiking. We made it to Taupo around noon and received the bad news that the Tongariro Crossing is closed, due to a storm. We decided to stay here a few days anyway, in hopes that it will re-open and we can hike it.
We decided to go hiking around Taupo while we wait for the crossing to open, but we woke up to pissing down rain, again. After breakfast, we headed in to town and checked in with one of the Stray drivers at Urban to see if there were any updates on the crossing. No good news. Then Sas and I decided it was clear enough to hike to Huka Falls today. But on the way back to the hostel we got drenched in a sudden downpour. We changed and then headed back in to town to find ponchos and got even more drenched! By the time we had found garbage bags, it had cleared up a bit. We walked out toward the falls trail. We passed a spa area, which we need to return to tomorrow. You can just swim in the warm, muddy creek that flows into the river. After several hours we reached the falls. It was a brilliant trail, right along the river. I could totally live on this river. We continued past the falls and ate our lunches outside of this heli-pad cafe. We considered hitching back into town, but decided to just take the same trail back. By the time we got back to town we were exhausted! After finding dinner, we met up with our favorite Irishman, who arrived in town today, and went to see a movie at the Taupo Cinema, followed by a second dinner at Hell’s Pizza.