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Hannah Simmons: Taupo, Gisborne, Rangitukia, Te Kaha, Taupo

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On leaving wellington, we drove past a couple of mountains, one of them being Mount Ngaruahoe also known as Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings films. Drove to Taupo airport, where i decided it would be a good idea to throw myself out of a perfectly good plane from 12000ft. Turned out to be a very good idea. After a 45second freefall, the 5 minutes with the parachute took in some amazing views of Lake Taupo, which is bigger than Singapore, and of the nearby mountains.
Next day, set of on a 4 day trip around the East Cape. First stop was Napier, an art deco city, then on to Gisborne for the night. Stayed opposite the beach, where their was a mass whale grave about 200m down containing about 57 whales.
Next morning, we stopped at a couple of lookouts along the road including Whangara where the Whale Rider was filmed. Further on we walked up to a lookout over Tolaga Bay, went swimming in Tokomaru Bay and stopped at a church in Tikitiki. It was an Anglican church but the inside was decorated with lots of Maori artwork. That evening, we were given a traditional Maori dinner, a Hangi, round the campfire.
Very early next day, we all climbed up to the top of the nearby hill to watch the sunrise. With this being one of the most easterly points in New Zealand it mean that we were some of the first people in the world to see the sunrise. Then we stopped at the East Cape Lighthouse and walked up 755 steps to the top to see the views. That evening, we stayed at a farmstay with a Maori family. They sang us some traditional Maori songs and performed the Hakka for us.
Cruised along the final bit of east coast coastline back into Taupo yesterday and back out of isolation. Today, went for a 3 hour walk out to the Haka falls and back and went for a walk around part of the lake.

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