Today is our free day and we all have a sleep in since for the past week all we have had are super early starts and a few late nights. It’s such a nice room to chill out in with the free tea and coffee plus the balcony and great views of the lake and park, so as it is just myself, Ida, Harry and Ida in the room there is no rush and can relax a bit. Heading out about 12 in the end to hire bikes, the four bikes they have in the hostel have already been rented out, but luckily there is another hostel they partner with called Urban Retreat that has 4 bikes left we can use and is just around the corner to walk.
At only $20 (£10) for half a day it’s good value and the bikes are pretty decent mountain bikes meaning we can do some of the mountain bike trails they have. Wanting to visit the spa hot pools we aim to go up and along Spa Road via the bungy place, however somewhere take a wrong turn and end up taking a 20 minute detour further away from where w need to be going and means we have to cycle up a crazily steep hill that is super hard and annoying to do when we didn’t need to. On the positive side it is good training for the rest of the bike trip and the crossing, which we have the next day.
So when we eventually get to Spa road, we go to the Taupo bungy center there as it has a cafe and outside area you can just watch all the crazy people jumping and we see a few. It’s funny how everyone is quite different in how they jump, some screaming and some doing it in total silence or not moving at all which is eery as looks like they aren’t real or dead. This one isn’t one of the highest in NZ, so probably a good one to start with as does have nice view. It also has a swing, which is meant to be easier, but noone does that while we are there. I’m still uncertain whether I could go through with a jump or not as hate that feeling of being too close to an edge and even get it when I’m looking over the side of the bungy gorge where there are barriers, so can’t image I would be able to do that if the barrier wasn’t there!
So after watching a few for a bit we head next door to the Spa Park and look for the cycle tracks. It looks like the actual walk to the spa park is walking only, so we decide to do that one later and to try the cycle route. We end up passing a bmx bike dirt jump track and all stop there for awhile bumping into a few others from the kiwi bus Robin the R&D guy and 2 German lads Mads and Ganich who are good fun. The jump track is cool and I have a few goes on the easy one, as there is one next to it, which has gaps between it so you have to jump them. This is good practice too for the trails we do later on.
So cycling through the park we get to signs for the HUKKA FALLS, which is 4.5km away and so we guess it will take about 30minutes and so decide to do this first before the hot spa pools since we are there, but don’t account for it not being a loop back or that it will be super tough so won’t want to cycle back on the same route to get to the spa pools. The route is very scenic through bush, but has steep hills up and down with really tight corners, cute but narrow bridges and a lot of big ditches at the end of corners that would be dangerous if went over.
Alex and Harry go off ahead of us as much faster than us and better on the bikes as both Ida and I are a little nervous as you pick up a lot of speed when you go down the hills and constantly having to use the brakes to avoid crashing into things. We also end up walking the bike a lot as the hills are just too steep to cycle up. All good exercise still. So in total with the difficulty added in it takes us about an hour and with having to give the bikes back at 5pm and it being 3.30pm we think it could be risky doing a cycle track back. They don’t say how long they should take and we don’t have the energy to cycle too hard anymore, therefore we head back on the road back to Taupo which Google maps says should take about 30minutes. That doesn’t end up being the easiest route either as have to go up a steep long hill for about 15minutes, which again Ida and I end up walking mostly, but the last part great fun as downhill all the way and on a cycle path, so no need to brake much either.
Once we are back in town we have to drop the bikes off and all super tired and hungry decide to treat ourselves to an Indian – not had one for months so the tikka masala goes down well. With the 5am pick up for the crossing the next day and all being tired, we decide to just chill out in our room and watch a movie as Life of Pi is on just going via the supermarket to get all our food organised for the crossing.
24th April 2016