Midway through our road trip through the North Island, we had lunch at the Fine Fettle Café in Taupo. See that organic wholefood goodness. We had driven down from Tongariro National Park – Mount Doom and all that – where it had been snowing and we’d not been able to see a thing. But the area around Taupo is full of thermal springs, and we warmed up in a natural hot tub. Lake Taupo is grand, and the town of Taupo is at its north end. It is the childhood home of a well-known Buddhist blogger. A childhood friend from my home village in England died near here recently. The tangled unfolding of conditions. We scooted on to more thermal springs. A steaming lake, skimmed by hundreds of swallows and fantails. Boiling mud, flopping and splattering. We ended up in another hot pool in Rotorua. The coffee in Taupo was great.