4 days, 7 campgrounds, 30+ bands, 60,000 people. This was Rhythm & Vines. This was how i spent my NYE. Its a music festival set in picturesque Gizborne, famous for being the first city to see the sunrise on New Years Day. Good times ensued. Soon tho, shortly after the festival, the car had to be returned to Auckland and we were on foot again.
On the way back to drop the car off, we had stopped briefly at a nice lakeside town called Taupo. Pretty well-known on the backpack circuit. We liked it so much we decided to hitchhike back there from Auckland. Barely made it away from the city on the first day, so we followed the train tracks into a secluded corner of a farmer's pasture and camped under a tree near a stream. Total hobo. The next day we caught a series if rides from some really cool ppl and a few wackos, but we made it. Right to the entrance of our campground even! We were crashing at a free spot called Reid's Farm. Its a chill place along the banks of the Waikato, NZ's longest river and only 1/2 hour walk from Taupo.
Our first night we caught a little flak from some dude that thought we were gonna have a huge campfire, but really we were using our woodburning campstove/phone charger for cooking. Once he saw our gadget in action, he loved it! Turned out to be a really cool cat named Angus. That night he brought out a battery powered amp and dropped some anti-fracking spoken word to some tunes he had recorded. Awesome.
The next day, my bro and I took in the sights and sounds of Taupo. We hiked to the Huka falls. Its a canyon with thousands of litres of bright blue water gushing through a 5m drop. Spectacular. We also stopped at a functional beehive and sampled some honey wine, mead, and honey from just about every variety of NZ flower commercially produced.
Our last day, Angus took out the kayak and invited us on a trip down the Waikato. We watched from the water as bungy jumpers took the leap of faith above us. Then, we found a sweet cliff jumping spot and took a faithful leap of our own. As we floated back to camp, we took the necessary stop along the river where a hot stream flows into the cooler water of the Waikato. A most relaxing place to crack open a wobbly pop indeed.
Later that night back at camp, Angus offered up a delicious millet dinner to cap off our day of paddling exertion(i.e. floating on the current). We met some really cool ppl (especially Rosa and Dylan), set up some torches on a bridge and grooved all night to a four hour concert put on by who else? Our man Angus! Thanks dude!!