by Jim
on Aug 31st, 2007


Days 4-5

I meant Taupo to be a cruisy part of the trip. Taupo is your typical lakeside holiday town filled with all the lakeside stuff. The lake is a reason for a lot of cafes, restaurants and hotels to collect, though there are quite a few adventure activities that are based here as well (skydiving, gliders, dirt bikes and so forth). My interests were R&R, and I booked a decent hotel for two nights instead of the usual YHA. Mission accomplished: a lot of hanging around, reading, and basically chilling out.

I did head out on a hike that was a partial success. Unlike most of the many immaculate Dept. of Conservation trails we’ve been on in NZ, this trail was really just a rough path up a hill that’s on Maori land (not a DOC site). It was a pretty tough hike, and I’m surprised the LP guide was so casual about it–or maybe I’m just that out of shape. You first cross some farmland and then start heading up a steep slope. Once you enter the woods, the trail narrows to a mud path and winds all over the place. After a good hour of solid uphill climbing I was rewarded with immaculate views such as this. I pressed on for a while more, but pretty soon the weather got worse and the trail was reduced to a muddy mess. I might have been 2 minutes or 2 hours from the top–I have no idea. The trail was completely unmarked and no one else was around. Mission aborted. I headed back to the hotel and cleaned up my filthy clothes.

The rest of the day was pretty much spent driving around. There are all sort of little sites just off the road. Huka Falls, Craters on the Moon, the Wairakei geothermal power station, a little shop that sells honey and has beehive in plexiglas, etc. I closed out the night with a fine linguini con scallops dinner and a view of the total lunar eclipse that just happened to be visible in these parts.

Tomorrow morning I’m off to Napier….

(P.S. I’m noticing that my late 2004 edition of Loney Planet is chock full of restaurants that no longer exist. Turnover here must be high. Get a recent book if you visit.)

Huka Falls

Tauhara track

Amazing views from Mt. Tauhara

Bees, up close

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