North Island New Zealand: Lake Taupo to Palmerston North

When we woke up, we headed for the “Super Loo,” the bathroom that had a coin shower! Showering was top priority, as far as I was concerned, and I felt a million times better afterwards. The Super Loo was very clean to the point that someone came in every time a person used the toilets to clean them. They even had a blow dryer available! Score!
Then, we had breakfast in the parking lot and used the gas stove for the first time. Easy as pie… or eggs in this case!

We were heading towards Palmerston North because it’s the halfway point on the journey to Wellington. About 100m into the drive (we had literally just left), we found the “Lake Taupo Hole in One Challenge.” It’s set up for people to golf straight into the lake, aiming for a little green. With the chance to win $25,000 and to say the played in New Zealand, Mark had to stop! We got 18 balls, Mark hit 4 on the green and was a very happy camper - pun intended.
One we were back on the road, we made a few scenic stops to take photos and, then, we were in for the long haul.  One of my favorite stops was to Huka Falls, a series of waterfalls that flows into Lake Taupo... or maybe out of. Either way, it's super intense and Mark thought it would be cool to go white water rafting, but I'm pretty sure we'd die. Seriously...

Another stop that we made was at the National Trout Conservatory in the “Trout Capital of the World.” We went through the small museum, fed some fishes, and learned some stuff about the trout. Can you tell how enthusiastic I am about this topic?! The funny part about the town being the Trout Capital of the World is we quickly realized that New Zealand towns seem to be the “capitals of the world,” of all different types of things. For example, we passed through the “Sheep Sheering Capital of the World,” and decided to stop to get some wool stuff. Turns out, there wasn’t one store that sold wool items. It was hilarious!!

After the trout museum, we made our lunch and hit the road. Our next stop was Waiouru, where the National Army Museum is located. Mark spent a solid two hours walking around and reading everything within the place. I was burnt out about 30 minutes after arriving, but I was a champ and let him get his history fix. I also wasn’t disappointed about how we spent our day because it was rainy and cold outside so I would have rather been in a museum than trying to do something outdoors.

When we finally made it to “Palmy” and we took a photo at the city centre because my friend, Jo, is from there! I wanted to send her a photo, but I think it may have made her more homesick than anything else. We also had Wendy’s for dinner! Don’t judge. This decision would usually go against all of our travel rules, but when you live in Japan sometimes a “Spicy Chicken Sandwich” just sounds delightful! Mark also tried his first L&P Soda, a New Zealand specialty. I thought it tasted like malt liquor that I drank in my early college days. Ha!

We found, what appeared to be, the only Holiday Park in city and hooked up for our first night with full power... but not before we stopped at Massey University to take a photo for Mark's Sister, Maureen, and her family. They're the Masseys!! They have an entire university all for their family!

We enjoyed our night by filling out postcards to all of our family members and drinking a bottle of Pinot Noir, which happened to be a very tasty $9 wine. Even though we had full power throughout the night, we didn’t use the heaters until in the morning. I guess that means we were adjusting to the climate change? I’m not sure. What I do know is that it always feels colder in the mornings here.
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