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Last night I chatted with a guy from Denmark, a couple from Ireland, and a woman from Germany who cleans cars for a rental company (a career choice I now know far more about than I ever expected).

Four different forecasts called for four different weather patterns. At 8:00 am the rain had stopped, so I optimistically packed up and headed out.

As I left Rotorua, a fine Irish mist began. It stopped after a few minutes, and I spent the remainder of the day under partly cloudy skies. Most of the day I followed paved cycle lane or low- traffic roads with gentle gradient. I rolled into Taupo, 90 km away, by 3:00 pm. A spectacular day of cycling.

I cycled past a couple of core tourist attractions, but still found multiple examples of thermal activity, just along the side of the road.

I checked into the IYH hostel in Taupo to drop my gear, and cycled out to visit Huka Falls, a thunderous torrent of 200,000 cubic liters per second. Instead of the road, I followed the cycle track. The mountain biking track. Not what this bicycle is designed for, but then again I’m usually on a fully-loaded touring bicycle when I do something that ill-considered. I did however take the road back, adding another 10 km to the day.

I went to the official Coolest McDonald’s in the world today, with a DC3 as part of the playset.

I spent the evening talking with Tom from the UK, currently working in NZ I struck up a conversion when I noticed his carbon-fiber road bike. He once rode from the UK around Denmark and back home. 5,000 km, and notably often 400 km each day, riding overnight while carrying gear! The most I’ve ever met someone cycling before was a road cyclist 150 km outside of Istanbul, who had left there that morning, and was headed back. Unloaded!

Hopefully a bus to Napier tomorrow.

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