We made a pitstop in a random town called Tirau that has corrugated iron scupltures,
and another in Taupo for food and to hike up a small mountain - except I managed to trip over my own feet whilst running in the street and faceplanted the floor and ripped my knee open. So I hiked up a bit of the mountain with Sam (who was vomitting every 5 minutes as she's developed an allergy to something but isn't quite sure what it is yet) before we decided we were both too sore/ill to carry on so we headed back down the mountain and waited for the others in the car.
We arrived at Steph's bach with a few daylight hours spare, made dinner and chilled out ready for our big Sunday Snowday.
We had originally planned to do the Tongariro crossing by night but apparenlty 2 people had died in the past week so we took Steph's advice and instead we did a bit of the crossing during the day. To be honest I just wanted to see lots of snow and that's what I got!!
I did the crossing when I first got to NZ and it was really nice to go back in winter - the snow makes it so beautiful.
We went to Soda Springs, a little waterfall that had frozen over, and then found a slope which we spent a good while sliding down. I tried to get to the top to slide down a few times but kept losing grip and sliding down to the beginning which was getting tiring so promptly gave up and sat watching everyone else do it instead :)
This weekend I spent a lot of money but also got a lot of bargains - I went to a shopping outlet centre (my new favourite place) and bought a pair of running trainers for $90 and a goosedown 3 season sleeping bag which only weighs 0.8kg (AMAZING) for $150 reduced down from $549 which is a right bloody bargain. It packs down so small too!!! I also got a new tramping rucksack (when I say that over here people look at me so blankly, it's 'backpack' and nothing else is acceptable) which is a proper hiking one with sleeping bag compartment and mat straps and stuff. It's so exciting! I am kinda like - wow, I should have just bought all of this when I first got here then at least I would have used it a few times and got my money's worth. Ahh well.
Oh I also bought a bike!!!! It's SO PRETTY AND COOL. I feel like I should wear bright yellow spandex when I ride it. It's a road bike and scary to ride as I am not used to it but hopefully I'll use it...again another bargain at $85!
Last night Ben and I went to a play called "Mating in Captivity" which was hilarious. It was a play based around 3 main characters - a couple who were newly engaged and the guy's ex partner, who's a man, who turns up unexpectedly. It was so so so so funny and would have been terrible for prudes as it featured a lot of nudity. The way it was staged was awesome and I felt like I was watching through the window of someone's home rather than watching a play. If it's ever near you I highly recommend it.
Today I got up early and Camilla, Ben and I drove to Whatipu and did a gorgeous 4 hour bush/coastal hike called the Omanawanui track. Both Matt and Adam had recommended it and I am glad we did it early as meant we had the rest of the afternoon to do boring life admin and blog writing chores. I am not a huge fan of Auckland but I do love how you can drive for an hour and be in the most beautiful areas and feel like you're the only one around - it's great!