Due to the weather forecast and logistics, I decide not to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing as planned. In hindsight, I could have stayed at the Tongariro YHA, taken the shuttle from there, and done the crossing today; the forecast rain did not materialize and it wasn’t as windy as predicted. (The NZ weather forecasts are among the least accurate I have encountered.) Instead, I drove up to the National Park, explored a few of the sights, and hiked for a couple hours on the beginning of the track. I liked the vastness of the view and the beautiful low growing plants.
I returned to Taupo in time to go to Café L’Arté with Erin. This café is set in an adorable garden filled with mosaic artwork. We later picked up fish and chips, and a bottle of wine, and had a most enjoyable dinner on a picnic table next to the lake. Thank you Erin.