Slowing Things Down…
After the crazy adventure from my last blog where we visited Hobbiton AND went white water rafting down a Grade 5 seven metre drop in Rotorua, it was time to do something a little more chilled out! Enter Taupō, the hometown of our tour guide and where the biggest lake in Australasia can allegedly be found! One of the folks on our tour also experienced his first Indian curry and we have converted him to the spicy side (kinda). Let’s have a wander 🙂
About an hour’s drive south on Highway 5 from the sweet smelling sulphur dioxide of Rotorua is this beautiful lakeside town of Taupō (said “toe-paw”) with a population of around 25,000. You can’t help but be in awe as you cast your eyes over it’s lake which offers views in the distance of the iconic Tongariro National Park. This whole region was created by some spectacular geological activity from years gone by.
As you can see in the photo above, there was a bit of mist on the lake’s surface, which is usually the case in the morning, but this burns away as time goes on and by the afternoon it’s gone. This means you can enjoy a kayak on the surface with crystal clear waters that let you see 13 metres in to the deep! In fact, at its deepest, Lake Taupō is 186m and has an average depth of 100m [Source]. If you wanted to run, cycle or walk around its perimeter, you’ll need some endurance as it’s 193km! [Source]
We didn’t go kayaking but the more adventurous in the group went skydiving which I’m sure offers amazing views from above but you will absolutely NOT find me jumping out of a plane haha! Some other activities you can get stuck in to are mountain biking, which is all year round, lake cruises, geothermal walks, trout fishing and even skiing. To find out more about these activities, head to the Taupo website here.
The lake itself is in fact a big volcano with a violent, fiery history and when its last eruption happened in 181AD, it changed the skies in Europe and China – in other words, BIG! So let’s hope it stays dormant when you go and visit! In fact, this is just a small part of the “Taupō Volcanic Zone” which extends all the way up to Whakaari (White Island) which is nearly 50km away from the nearest coastline north of Taupō! This means there’s a lot of natural hot pools and spas around so if you like your trips a little more on the relaxing side, check out some of the geothermal spas!
As you walk along the lake, you’ll come across this giant #lovetaupo sign which was put up for that tourist shot! But also a way for you instagram lovers to get tagging! Make sure you get your customary snap but be warned, there will be a queue here for sure!
For the keen golfers amongst you, there’s a fun little game you can play called “hole in one” which pretty much gives the game away! About 100 yards or so out in to the middle of lake, there’s a platform with three holes on that you can take aim and fire at. Just don’t get distracted by the beautiful backdrop!
Another area of interest on the lake as you walk back towards the town is a bright orange archway called “Reid’s Carving”. It’s a gateway (waharoa) that was carved in Taupō in 1927-1928 by Tene Waitere, a master carver, and commemorates the Maori leaders who founded the tribes of Tuhourangi (Rotorua) and Ngati Tuwharetoa (Taupō). George Reid gifted the collection to the people of Taupō District after his wife passed away in 1960. There is more information on this at the Taupō Museum.
“Fancy An Indian?”
As one of our group members from Belgium (Dries) had NEVER had an Indian curry before, we managed to convince him to try it out for the first time. Why not, New Zealand is the… home… of curry?! Well, there’s certainly a mixture of cultures here and Asian cuisine is pretty well represented so we didn’t have too much trouble finding a restaurant but the one that was recommended to us was called “Indian Affair”.
The mains cost around $20-$25NZD and for our budget travel group, it was a little more than what we had normally been spending on meals out but it was SO worth it. Three of us went in hungry and getting anxious, we came out full and extremely satisfied! Highly recommend it (maybe not the night before a skydive though!)- check them out here.
En Route To Wellington
As you reluctantly make your way out of Taupō and around the beautiful blue waters towards Wellington, you’ll pass the Tongariro National Park which will be showing its 3 massive mountains – Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom). We’ll come back to this in a later blog as I do make a return to this World Heritage Site but for now, we have to enjoy it from afar whilst heading down Highway 1 to Wellington 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this little trip around Taupō, certainly was a little more tranquil than the last one wasn’t it!
Take it easy
PHC Top 3 – A Chance To Win From A Growing Prize Pool
Well, whilst I’m here, I might as well take the chance to tell you about a new contest that I’ve been a part of with the Power House Creatives called @phctop3. All you need to do is tell us what your top 3 favourites for a chance to win from a growing prize pool – more info here.