There's lots of drives to take when you're holidaying in Taupo and my trip to Whakapapa took me past the start of the famous Tongariro National Park walk.
Fondest memory: The sound of the melt-fed river thrashing itself on the rocks is unmistakeable and I couldn't ignore it when travelling past so I asked my hosts to pull up while I took a couple of snaps.
These were taken near where the access road exits onto the main road back to Taupo and I couldn't help but wonder if I'd ever make the Tongariro crossing, knowing full well that on days like today it would never happen.
The white out conditions that had prevailed made exercises like that virtually impossible and, at the very least, extremely dangerous. Heck, just skiing had been dangerous enough!
Time to stick to the simple things like taking photos.
One of the things about Taupo that you never forget is the steam and pipes just to the north west of the town.
I can understand how the pressure from beneath the ground can drive things but I just wonder about the sulphur and how they keep things from corroding.
Fondest memory: The steam is used twice to provide power; once when it is pushed up by the earth and secondly when it cools and can be used as hydro electricity a couple of times a day.
However, I couldn't help but notice when flying that there was a vent spewing forth steam in the middle of a paddock a couple of kilometres away from where the power station was (pic 3). It turns out that it was about to be capped and provide the latest thermal power for the region.
It is quite common for travellers to arrive in Taupo without having booked accommodation first. There is a huge variety of accommodation options in Taupo so a good place to check out is the Taupo Visitor Information centre. It is located on the main street on the right at the start of the domain park. They also have information and can make bookings for the many attractions in the region.
Photo courtesy of Destination Lake Taupo
Taupo is a very nice town nestled under Mt Tauhara. This being the volcanic region, of course Mt Tauhara is a volcano.
There are very nice shops, something for everyone in the family. Of course there is the lake with it's watersport activities, and lots of other activities around the town. Plenty of adventure, skydiving, bungy jumping, jet boating est, but also golf.
Lake Taupo has become a popular stop off point for young travellers.
There are lots of backpackers hostels and moderately priced motels for the budget traveller as well as luxury lake front hotels and lodges.
Fondest memory: Taupo also seems to have more then it's fair share of fast food outlets and restaurants.
My favorite is the 'Mr Indian" restaurant, I just can't resist the curries on a cold Taupo evening.
The township faces south across the lake and as you drive in over the crest the most wonderful sight unfolds before you of crystal clear waters with a snow encrusted mountains as its backdrop. As the sun is setting, that scene is even more beautiful.
The beaches are extremely popular as is being on the water itself. If you want a thrilling ride, take a tour on one of the jet boats. You will get bumped around a lot at times and you need to hang on but its great fun and when you pull into the little tranquil bays ... 'you will know why you have come this way...''