Day 32. Swells and Rapids


Today is for Diane Olwin. She was the CFO for Saint Anne Home in Fort Wayne, Indiana for many years. Her main priority was caring for and having relationships with the elderly. Just listening to my mom talk about things at work for so many years I could tell that Diane was a very sweet person. All the residents were very well cared for and I think its because Diane used her power at the top to essentially care for everyone beneath her.. like a clean waterfall at the peak of the mountain. As it comes down, people drink of it, and because of its purity are happy and healthy. What kind of waterfall at the top, determines the healthy the people will be below. My Mom and Diane respected each other very much and since Diane leaving, have become good friends. Thank you Diane for taking care of the residents and especially keeping my mom happy for so many years. 🙂


I had been woken up several times by Christoph below me. He rolled into the bedroom about midnight or 1am. Team said he usually snored and she said about 5-5:30am she would always wake up because of it. I guess he had lived in that room longer than she had! So I got dropped into these two persons bedroom. It was interesting asking her if she and him would say…’well…whose gonna stay in the extra bed tonight…?’ Being a hostel one would think that the bed would filled with random strangers each night and it would be kind of unique to see and hear stories from each person. It’s not like many people are actually from here anyway. People are always ‘on holiday.’ (Vacation) Or coming from some other country. She had taken most of the room with her stuff. The desk had 4 drawers and there was a cabinet where I found a coat hanger that she didnt know was available for me. Lol. Quite an interesting situation.

I had a shower and packed up my stuff again. I put my backpack and everything else outside of the room so I could return my key and linens to be washed. Found Matt in the dining room talking with a woman and after i dropped off my stuff I waited for a break in the conversation to ask him if there was enough room for team to come with us for the day. “No, I barely have enough room for you and your backpack”. Sigh. Ah well I guess. Came back to the room. I got good news and bad news! Good news…the sun is shining!! Bad news…he doesn’t have enough room to take you with us. We both were a little disappointed, as she put on her shoes. She figured she would just head some place on her scooter and explore. I said my farewell to both of them and grabbed my backpack. I met up with Matt in the dining room and we headed to the van. He opened the side door. Oh yea…he was definitely right. There was barely any room at all! Even though it was a van, and was supposed to carry 4 people and their stuff..there was no way. He had the back seats down to put his mattress on. I put my backpack on to of that but out of the way so he could still see out the back window. Unless she could have turned into a small suitcase, there wasn’t any room in the back. Moving the passenger seat back a bit it was a decent fit for just me to get in up there.

We needed to get gas, so I went inside to get a drink. Ive always wanted to try these..meat pies..? So I got a steak and cheese one and an egg and ham one. They weren’t to bad really. I never liked pot pies and these kind of looked like them. I probably didn’t like pot pies because they tend to come with a lot of peas. I’m not a fan. Anyway..besides being super flaky, they were pretty good.

Matt made sure to ask me if I was in any hurry or not because he had just been stopping wherever he wanted to, to hope out and take pictures or check out beaches. Nope, I’m totally game for that. I had wanted to see and do as much as possible on the way to Auckland anyway.

So as we are driving.. (its about an hour and a half – two hour drive) we see the tops of some huge waves as they spray off into the sky. We pull over to check it out..

Amazing beach…not the type you want to sit or lay on..but a very cool one.

We stop at 1 or 2 more places, not picture worthy.

I say, photo!:

I am under the impression that I can do everything I want from this next town. Go kayaking, see Hobbiton, sit in hot natural springs, get to Auckland in a couple hours. Ill figure out later..that’s not exactly the case. He wants to know where to drop me off in Taupo so he can continue up to Rotorua. He mentioned renting a mountain bike and cruising around. Sounded fun to me, but I had in my head I would hang in this town till I had to head to Auckland. I was looking up campsites while looking up the distances of each site to some hot thermal springs. Found this place that only cost $10 more than a normal campground but they had a huge outdoors heated pool, swim up service, they even played movies on a big screen in this pool. All outdoors. Ok so this place was $35 / night. Actually for everything they offered in the states it would be at least $150 a night. Illll take it. He dropped me off there and we said our goodbyes and he headed off and I headed inside to get a tent site. There were a lot open so I had my option of one. I picked my lucky number…camp site 13. She had said that at 2pm there was going to be some kind of fire drill that they would have to evacuate everyone for a bit outside of the camps ground. It was 12:30pm. I had enough time to setup my tent and go find something to do for a while.

My new home:

I went back to the office to ask some touristy questions..

1st of all.. No shuttles run from here to hobbiton. Instead they run from Rotorua.

2nd. I was told kayaking here wasn’t that great. You would just paddle along flat water and stare at stone carvings in a rock wall. (They had pamphlets of everything to do on the wall)

3rd. The larger and better hot springs is on the way to Rotorua as well. There was one here that she said I could go check out, and I had been told there was some cool waterfall a little bit of a hike away. I located both on the map and decided I would check out this thermal stream and that waterfall.

4th. Besides being the hub for buses..this town doesn’t have a ton to do that’s on my to do list. Soooo I figured I would stay the night instead of the rest of my time here and hitch to Rotorua and stop a few places on the way. The new plan.

It’s like 10 minutes before the fire I take off with my smaller backpack. I have snacks and a liter of water. Looking at my map I walk about 20 minutes past two streets and turn into a park where they have walking / hiking paths to get to this stream and the Huka Falls.

It’s about a 2 hour hike from the campground to the falls.

I missed these kinds of views and the hike through the woods was a really nice one. Rolling hills that I would have struggled with before..but I could feel my leg muscles tell me…ehh this isn’t a problem now. Lol

That last picture had an Indiana Jones feel to it. Lol

I come to what I guess is the thermal spring:

It was like a busy beach, but only right in that area! People with swim suits and bikinis on, in the creek and laying out on the ground sunbathing.

I didnt want to seem like a creeper, so as I got closer I didnt take anymore photos. But under the bridge there was like 20 people sitting in this hot spring. I took more pictures on the way back. There wasn’t exactly a good place to reach down and put my hand in either. Eh. Ill do it when I come back this way.

First of all..look how clear that putty water isss. can see sunbathers in the top left of the pic.

I keep hiking..up and down..around..up and down.

Isn’t it a gorgeous day!?

Finally I can hear the roar of the waterfall..

One way…and the other way.

It’s crazy how fast and how powerful, that water looks. I had imagined someone trying to get through their on a kayak, and one wrong move could mean disaster.. TONS of weight smashing into the walls and into itself.

Like an idiot..I kept trying to take selfies with the waterfall rather than asking someone. A girl asked if she could take my picture…uhh yeaaaaa lol

Contemplated going another 2 hours to see this dam that opens every few hours to flood a small canyon..but it was already 4pm. It would have taken me till 6pm to get there then a 4 hour hike back. Nah. I sat down to have some snacks n H20 before heading back to the campground. I bought some interesting beef jerky when I couldn’t find any, I wanted to try New Zealand brand:

I didn’t expect it to be in a plastic bag with liquid inside…It honestly was better than most beef jerky because usually the jerky is dry and stiff and this was moist. This little package satisfied my hunger for quite a while!

Heading back..this was the bridge I was standing on. To get the pictures over top the water.. you ca see how many people there were battling for photo opportunities:

On my way back I took a few more pics..Also..I cant get over how big some of these plants are..

If you look at the tree picture…look at the water. It’s so clear! There was no muddy / swampiness about anything there. I felt like I could just drink out of the water. In the picture, you cant even really tell that the rocks are under water. Lol

You can see in this zoomed up photo that they have long white poles to grab onto in case you get swept away. It wouldn’t be good if you headed towards those falls for sure..

More clear water!

Aaaaand I just liked this picture..

So I come back to the hot spring..I put my hand in the water just past where the people are crowded around. It’s like hot tub water! This really baffles my brain. Never have I ever felt water coming from the ground be this warm… nature!

I took a few videos but here’s a picture of the hot spring:

It just looks normal doesn’t it? In my video you can see it steaming.

It’s just crazy.. There were tons of people still in and around it, even if I did have my bathing suit I wouldn’t want to squeeze in. Ill see if i can do that tomorrow at the ‘better one’. The people at the desk said this one wasn’t that great but I should go take a look at it.

I made the hour and a half trek back to the campground. I was kind of excited that the outdoor hot tub movie theater thing was still open. I saw a sign that said it stayed open till 10pm but the pool closed at 8. Impressive that it stays open so long! I think I had in my head that I wanted to sit in a hot water spring, but this would be just as good if I couldn’t have that.

There are 3 spots where its like hot tub go away from those and its still pretty warm! Neat-o. The cave in the back there is also a hot cave. It deep so only adults and supervised kids could go in.

There is a bar and bar stools in the water. I asked for a menu but sitting up on a bar stool was so cold! It was semi windy. Inside the cave, it had wanna be glow worms hanging from the ceiling.

I have a waterproof phone case…buuut I don’t really want to test it by dunking I just swim with one arm out of the water. I’m sure family has seen me do the one arm swim before…

Lol I liked how my body was green while my face stayed the same color..

They were playing kids movies, but it was ok. Something to watch. I got in half way through some nanny movie..she has powers and one large tooth. You would know if you saw it. The second movie was Alvin and the Chipmunks. I got out at 8 but it was going to play till 10. I think I waited so long because I REALLY didnt want to get out and get cold! I would have to go all the way back to my tent to get dry clothes.

Finally got out and froze for 15 minutes. Doesn’t help that my towel is one of those super absorbent ones that dry quick but aren’t the warmest..

I like the shape on the water in the last photo.

I knew I had a bit of blogging so I didnt want to sit there till the end of the movie even though it was verrry relaxing. The hot water wasn’t too hot was the prefect temp to sit for hours.

Anyway, here I am in the kitchen blogging.

I figure tomorrow Ill get up and out of here..hitch and go. To the ‘real’ hot springs and see how much time I have to get there or go kayaking or…who knows!


It’s pretty interesting when you realize that everyone is broken. We are all going through our own issues and we all need help. Whether we want to admit it or not. Having a person who will sit and listen and actually care about your problems is tough to come by. When we are feeling down..We can be that person to someone else and in turn, the healing helps both people. It’s like when you teach something to someone, you engrain that knowledge even more into yourself and you learn so much faster. It’s kind of like helping people. If you want to feel better about yourself, help someone else feel better about their self.

I like this quote:


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