A nice enough hostel in Taupo, but backpackers had gear strewn about the room, making packing this morning difficult.
Unsurprisingly, a much higher proportion of backpackers that are actually wilderness-oriented come to New Zealand. Also, much like the Australians in Europe, tourists travel here for months on end. For clarify, kiwis refer to the process as “tramping.”
As I ate breakfast I realized everyone else still slept. I arrived at the bus station by 8:30 am to confirm the bus. Afterwards, I visited several wilderness stores contemplating purchasing a stove. Wilderness stores abound in NZ. I didn’t bring my stove for space considerations, but my path the next few days is remote. Guides for the path ahead recommend carrying enough food for three days. Carrying a stove but displacing food? Hmm.
After lunch I caught the bus from Taupo to Napier. I’d had concerns about space on the bus for the bicycle. You can’t reserve space for a bicycle (although I was told that changes soon). NZ bus drivers load bicycles at their discretion, and you pay the bus driver $10 directly. With only one bus each day, cyclists report sometimes taking several days to catch a bus. The bus driver asked for $15, and I paid it.
From the bus I watched the road with interest. No shoulder, narrow two-lane road, and rain supported the recommendations and my decision.
The IYH hostel is lovely. Napier as well. An earthquake leveled the city in 1931. They rebuilt the entire city in the Art Deco style, with murals interspersed. Walking the streets feels like a combination of walking the streets in the 1930s, and Disneyworld Main Street.
I stopped by a supermarket and bought food, likely more than I can carry. I have several suggested routes though the hills, with limited choices for accommodation and food the next few days.