New Zealand Part 3: Taupo & Tongariro

We continued our journey down the north island to Lake Taupo. This was one of the several quaint lakeside towns we stopped at on our trip, they were all so fun and each had their own personality (like a little island you could hit golf balls onto, Tay got so close!). On Taupo, we went sailing on a boat named Fearless. One of the things I really loved about it is that it originally came from London! Sometimes I wish our next trip was there, but Taylor says there's still too much of the world to see to go back to places we've already been. His only exception is Brazil...but we may have to comprise on that :) Our captain was a really nice fellow with long dread locks who lived on the boat. He knew the art of sailing and the lake like the back of his hand, he reminded us of Tay's brother John. 

The turn around point on our three hour trip was some Maori rock carvings on a stone wall. They were beautiful and we were glad we got to see some more of their amazing culture. On the way back, our captain gave everyone on the ship some wine. We opted for the hot chocolate and biscuits, which were delicious as it was a bit chilly and windy as the evening wound down. 

When we got back from our sailing trip on the lake, we walked around the downtown area of town to search for our dinner. Tay and I love finding hidden gems when it comes to dining on our trips, and The Lake House was one of those places. New Zealand has some absolutely delicious beef, which we may have enjoyed a bit too much. For this meal, we had an unbelievable burger and a steak. What we loved about the steak in New Zealand was that it comes out raw on a piping hot stone made of volcanic rock, and you get to cook it yourself! This makes it so every bite is just how you like it and just as hot as the first. We want to buy one of these rocks for our home so we can keep eating steak like the New Zealanders. Another thing we like to do, not just on trips, but pretty much whenever we eat out, is find two things we both want on the menu and split them. This has caused some controversy in the past, but we keep doing it anyways. 

The next day we went on the most strenuous hike of our trip, called Tongariro crossing. I will be honest that I was a little nervous leading up to the hike, but Tay helped me make it through. We seriously felt like we were Frodo, Sam, and the gang on one of their long journeys on this hike as it looked just like the movies, we could almost feel the Orcs chasing us down! In addition to this being a strenuous yet beautiful hike, it is also one of the most popular on the island, so the trail was a bit crowded at times with tour groups (we were glad we were exploring on our own). Our destination was Mt. Ngauruhoe, which was actually Mt. Doom in the LOTR. Mt. Ngauruhoe is an active volcano, so we are literally playing with fire while we enjoyed our sandwiches at the base of the mountain. It was very clear to see the volcanic activity throughout the entire hike, the rocks and different formations were distinctive of being right next to a volcano. Although it was tough, I'm glad we did it!

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