This day was originally going to begin with my skydive, but overcast weather postponed that activity one more day (oops, spoiler alert). Stefan and I opted to kayak instead. The company we rented the kayaks from said the wind was too high for them to let us go on Lake Taupo. Instead, an employee gave us directions to a secluded lake just south of town that we’d unknowingly passed the previous day.
Here’s a bit of the artsy map they used to give us directions. The airport is where I skydived the following day. The turnoff to the lake, called Hinemaiaia, was just south of Hatepe Hill. Technically, it appears as a river or stream in my Google searches, and parts of it could definitely be classified as such, but for my purposes I’ll call it a lake, as that’s what most of it felt like.
The same helpful employee who told us about Hinemaiaia tied the kayaks onto Stefan’s car, and imparted the following sage advice: “If you’re not good at knots, tie lots of knots.” This is exactly what we did post-kayaking, followed with lots of praying on my part that they wouldn’t slide off on the return trip and kill someone.
At long last, we were on the water. At one end of the lake was a dam; at the other, a series of seemingly never-ending winding curves (“Just Around the River Bend” from Pocahontas crept into my head more than once). The lake was much more sheltered than Lake Taupo, and we had it all to ourselves, save some human-shy swans and ducks.
As we were about to leave, the sun came out.
It took about an hour for us (OK, mostly Stefan) to retie the kayaks back onto the car and stop along the potholey road to make adjustments. Thanks for not teaching me how to tie knots, Girl Scouts.
Afterwards we stopped by a grocery store to pick up ingredients for dinner, where I amusingly discovered this beer. I need to try it one of these days. It must taste like freedom.
Back at the hostel, we made the acquaintance of two Britons (traveling separately), and the four of us returned to the Huka Falls thermal pools after nightfall for another relaxing way to end the day.