01.07.2011 - 05.07.2011
In my post skydive excitement I failed to mention a crucial stop we made on the way to Taupo at a place called Bulls - a town like no udder. Seriously though, it was unbeliev-a-bull. I'd love to take credit for these jokes but they were all over the place in Bulls. Obviously a town with a sense of humour.
The day after the skydive was also a big one - I had a 6am start in order to complete an alpine hike called the Tongariro crossing - home to the infamous 'Mount Doom'. We were greeting at 6 by an outrageously chirpy bus driver. Why did she need to be so happy and lively at that time? I wanted her to shush. However, once we reached the crossing I was ready to go, and although the climb was challenging it was definitely worth wile. The winter tour doesn't involve summiting Mount Doom but we went a fair way up the side before heading a different way. The views from this walk are definitely contenders for the best of the trip.
I ended up staying four nights in Taupo so that some of my friends would catch me up! There was also a potential opportunity to win $10,000 through a hole-in-one Lake Taupo golf challenge. Sort of involved hitting onto a plateau floating in the lake where there was a golf hole... I thought that winning this would make my remaining time in New Zealand more comfortable. I didn't win.
Soon we were heading up to Auckland, the final trip on the 'banter bus'. That night it was decided that once again I should be involved in some kind of cooking escapade. Fajitas. Unsure of what I could really contribute, I went to my default cooking contribution of grabbing random herbs and spices and adding them to things. I think I greatly enhanced the dish with my additions, although the feeling was not unanimous. It was also decided that the meal should be accompanied by the wearing of silly hats - I was spoiled for choice having already recruited my 'gangsta' cap, a free father christmas hat and a lovely crown from Hungry Jacks (Australia's Burger King). In fact, so rich was my hat supply that I ended up lending hats to others. I still don't have my crown back. .