When I first was researching where to go in New Zealand, I chose the southern end of Lake Taupo for its proximity to national parks that sounded like they had good hikes through terrain we don't have at home (volcanoes and such). I also had seen from Omori LakeHouse's website that they were near the Tongariro Crossing, which I thought sounded like something interesting. But happily, Alex had meantime done more research into the area than I had, and when he learned that along the Tongariro Crossing, you could climb the slopes of Mt Doom (Mt Nguaruhoe), the deal was sealed in his mind. I was still thinking it would be along the lines of a strenuous hike through the hills at home, though I had read the warnings online about very changeable weather and so on.
Almost as soon as we walked in the door at the LakeHouse, Raewyn asked us if we planned to "do the crossing" while we were there, and if so, the next day was supposed to be fine weather for it. We said "sure", so she gave us a phone number to call for one of the shuttle services that takes you to the beginning of the crossing in the early morning and picks you up at the end of the day at the other end. I called the number and eventually worked out with the very-thick-kiwi-accented gentleman when and where we were to meet the shuttle (6:00 am in the town of Turangi, about 20 minutes from the B&B). He could take cash payment only, $40NZ each, so we would need to hit an ATM by morning. Raewyn had explained to us when we arrived that there had been a German couple staying in our room the past several days; they had come there specifically to do the crossing, but the weather had not been good enough till today, so they extended their stay (moving out of the guest room to the family room, since we were arriving, and rearranging their next stop), so they could do the hike (especially as the same thing had happened to them several years before, and they had missed out on the hike). I was beginning to understand that this "hike" was more akin to mountain climbing than what I had been picturing. The Germans returned around 5:00 or so, and I talked to them a little. They were quite sunburnt, but had had a wonderful time they said, and it was well worth it!
We chilled out for a bit, did some blogging and reading, and wrote out a grocery list for our hike. Then we headed into Turangi to the Four Fish Bistro for dinner. It was pretty good, though when we went to order dessert, the waitress said it was very limited because the chef had gotten sick and went home. The German couple were there also, so we chatted a bit more about the hike, and got some ideas about food and what to bring.
After dinner, we went to the New World supermarket and stocked up on lots of water and backpacking-type food for our daypacks: tuna, trail bars, apples, that sort of thing. Then after a good bit of driving around, we found an ATM and I got the cash we would need for the shuttle guy in the morning. We drove around in circles some more, but the nav system eventually got us back to the LakeHouse so we could turn in early and rest up for the day ahead.