On Thursday I went down to Taupo for a five night camping trip with Borghild, Divya, and Frank. We left Auckland via coach bus and had a fun ride down. Our bus driver was pretty funny and there was a girl about my age playing banjo. We talked for quite sometime about bluegrass and folk music. She was really glad to meet another folk music person since it isn't very popular in New Zealand. She has a band and has been playing the banjo for six years, just as long as me with my mandolin. Next time she is up in Auckland, she and I will be having a jam session.
We got off the bus in Taupo with beautiful weather; some clouds, but no rain. We took a taxi to the Great Lake Holiday Park and set up our tent. It wasn't a campground, but was the closest thing to it at the time. There was a full kitchen, bathrooms, a lounge, BBQ and a hot tub. We made hamburgers and sausages for dinner and finished up with some attempted volleyball before keeping warm in the lounge that ended up not being heated. That night was windy and about 0 degrees (Celsius).
Woke up and headed straight for the kitchen/lounge for some breakfast. The burners took ages to heat up and Borghild accidentally put the eggs in really early, so it took them over 30 minutes to cook in the pan. When we heard from the rest of our group, they picked us up and took us to the free campground. According to locals we weren't supposed to be there until October, but we didn't run into any problems. Everyone went to get pizza and check out the hot springs while Borghild, Divya and I stayed behind at the site and cooked pasta for dinner. There is an open fire ban across New Zealand so we couldn't light a fire. We were too nervous to leave our tent area because we were warned about being left alone where we were.
In the morning Borghild, Divya and I went on a day of hiking. We walked to Craters of the Moon; a thermal park that was spotted with vents with steam seeping out. Saw some boiling mud puddles and had 360 degrees of great landscape! We completed our six-hour hike with a loop to the hot springs. It was almost as warm as a hot tub and so nice! I also decided to be the brave one to jump into the freezing river and then swim up to the hot springs. It was really refreshing and the others followed after my fifth time out.
Everyone else left on Sunday, but the three of us girls stayed until Tuesday. Sunday we went on yet another hike down in Turangi along a river. On Monday we bought some magazines and a bunch of food. We layed on the trampoline of the holiday park in the sun and just vegged. It was a very relaxing last day to our little vacation.
Now I'm back in Auckland. In the morning I'm off to the gym with Borghild and then back to studying for me. Oh! And my visa is finally processed so I will get to finally start working!! YAY!