I was informed that there was a problem with the website database so this is an attempt to re-type what I had previously written. Who knows if they will be jumbled up if they can recover what I wrote?
I stayed in Taupo for an extra day and didn't do anything exciting. I then got on the bus the next day to head to our unique stay at the River Valley Lodge near Taihape (Tie-happy). This stop is unique to Kiwi Experience and under normal circumstances allows passengers to spend an afternoon white-water rafting or horse trekking. Unfortunately the river is in flooding at this time of year so rafting was slim to nil. I wish they had told me this before I got on the bus because I would have probably just headed back to Auckland.
On the way to the lodge we stopped in Whakapapa, which is a ski resort town on Mt. Ruapehu. We were supposed to go on a hike but the weather was snowy so we just ended up spending time in the visitors center. Mt. Ruapehu is an active volcano which would make skiing interesting for the area, it errupted as recently as 1996.
It was too late to raft or do anything when we arrived due to darkness and lack of electricity and lights in the bush so we spent the evening in the lodge. We had a group dinner and then watched the All-Blacks beat the Australia Wallabies in the first match of the Bledisoe cup/3-nations tournament. The only unfortunate part of this was that there was a rugby team at the lodge at the same time as us. It made the place a little louder and a whole lot drunker than it should have been.