Tales from Taupo
Trip Start Nov 06, 2009
354Trip End May 28, 2011
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Where I stayed
The weather was dismal for most of our time in Taupo so we spent a large proportion of time sheltering from the rain in the hostel.
We also discovered the most unique Macca's we've seen so far - with a whole aeroplane (Chris the planegeek reliably informed me that it was in fact a DC3) attached to the side of it. It had the insides stripped out and replaced by US diner-style furniture, so we couldn't resist stopping for a McCafe coffee and muffin in a window seat, and a squiz at the cockpit.
We were however able to take advantage of a brief break in the rain to take a stroll along the Waikato River. The river originates from the lake and flows all the way up to Auckland.
The walk was beautiful, alongside the river's clear emerald waters, and crossing a little hot stream on the way where we were very jealous of a runner we saw resting her limbs in a deliciously warm hot spring pool by the side of the path. How brilliant would it be to have a natural open-air spa pool dip after your super stunningly picturesque run every morning!?! Very jealous.
From the track we also saw a couple of bungee jumpers leap on obscene distance off a cliff into the river below. Not so jealous.
The river also flows through the spectacular Huka Falls which drain the lake. At the falls the river narrows from a usual width of around 100m wide to a 15-20m wide gorge with a 20m drop as it crosses a volcanic ledge, causing a tremendously powerful surge of water to shoot at a rate of around 220,000 litres per second through the chasm, creating gigantic rapids across the falls, which eventually gush into a gorgeous greeny-blue foaming pool below ('Hukanui' appropriately means 'foam' or 'great body of spray' in Maori), and back into the river again.
Taupo was also where we said goodbye (for this trip anyway!) to Daniel and Stephanie. We first met them back in Irkutsk (hard to believe it was almost a year ago already!), and then again for Christmas in Sanya, and again in Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang a few months later. They have a week left in NZ, then go to Melbourne for a week before heading back to Germany. So we threw a farewell dinner party for them in our hostel and had a jolly nice night with them, and some other fellow hostellers we all got chatting to throughout the evening.
At least it was very enjoyable until one of the young gap year backpackers informed me that "wow, you're only 4 years younger than my mum".