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Rotorua to Wai-o-Tapu and Taupo

Upon multiple recommendations by hitch hikers about Wai-o-Tapu, I cobbled together two separate bus tickets which dropped me off in the middle of the road in practically the middle of nowhere, but I knew there was a tavern across the street at the drop off and I was able to leave my bag for a few hours before hiking a couple of miles to the park. Surprisingly, nobody offered me a ride. Wai-o-Tapu was worth the excursion, featuring hiking routes with exotic colored lakes and thermal geysers which animated the skyline. Outside the park, I walked a little further to a free secret spot called “Hot-and-Cold” where thermal heated water converges with a cooler pond. I hopped in and had a wonderful conversation with some of the others, and was offered a ride, which allowed me to see a few more nearby sites before getting dropped off at the Wai-o-Tapu tavern where I enjoyed a cold post hot spring ice cream before running back across the road with my bag to wait for the bus pickup. I couldn’t believe that I was the only passenger on and off at that stop. Arriving in Taupo, a small volcanic lakeside town with, I explored a little, asked for more recommendations, and spontaneously signed up for a one direction 20km Tongariro Alpine Crossing the next day!

Tip:
Hitch hikers have really good recommendations. They usually have the extra time to explore all over the place because hitch hiking by it’s nature takes multiple segments to get to a destination, with local drivers and new friends all along the way who share local suggestions.

0321 New Zealand

Rainbow Crater spewing steaming “clouds” at Wai-o-tapu, New Zealand

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