Taupo

Beautiful place. I checked in to my hostel and not wanting to break from tradition, went for a walk around the lake. Branching off along a riverside track I saw what looked like a man floating down a river on a ring of inflated bin liners. When I caught up to him it really was a man floating down a river on a ring of inflated bin liners, beer in one hand, fag in the other. Because I was staring at him the man shouted out in a Spanish accent 'how you doing?'
'I'm good thanks. Are they bin liners?'
'Yes, it's cheap'
I'm not sure why but it seemed appropriate to take off my cap, bow down and say 'Sir, you are a genius'.
I passed the man and carried along the path but a few hundred yards later it finished. There was no path on the other side of the river either so how the hell the man was going to get back to his car I don't know. Unless, perhaps, he had concealed within his vessel a paddle made from lolly sticks (and I wouldn't put that past him, it would have taken a fair amount of Blue Peter skills to attach the bin liners leaving room for a person in the middle.
Back at the hostel I played scrabble with 3 English girls and a 17 year old German and had to hold on to some monster scores because I didn't want to look like a dick playing words like ee which I know is a word but justifying it would have meant admitting that I play on-line. That and the fact that one girl got away with words like zam meant that I finished third. I am ashamed to say I didn't like this and was a poor loser.

Next day I researched some long walks in the area and booked a trip for 5 days kayaking the Whanganui river. This had taken weeks to do as no companies would rent to someone who wanted to do it on their own, they were all guided trips. In the afternoon I walked out of town to a great free attraction, a hot spring fed pool 30 degrees in temperature, then past that to Huka falls and Aratiatia dam (both pictured below)

Day 3 in Taupo. Got drunk with some people who were celebrating finishing work the day before. It was a mexican themed party which consisted of eating some quesadillas and the 4 of us writing sombrero on stickers stuck to our caps. It was good fun but to be somewhere so beautiful and do something I can do at home felt very wasteful.