Aftter enjoying the amazing scenery from the waters edge we decided to go for a WILD RIDE. When we took off from the dock the jet boat driver went fullspeed ahead. He seemed to be aiming for the rocks or at least driving as close as possible without actually hitting them.Then he grabbed the wheel and caused the boat to spin out ! Lucky for me the driver decided he needed to go back to the dock to get his sunglasses. This was my chance to escape, I leaped off that boat and never looked back ! That was my first and last jet boat ride! I was glad to have my feet back on the solid ground.
But for people who enjoy an adreneline rush this wild ride is something you might really like. My husband and son loved it and thought I was crazy to jump ship.
A short drive from Lake Taupo is Huka Falls.It is a beautiful drive through pristine nature with its lush green plants and the gushing Aqua blue water. There are well beaten paths to follow and a bridge so you can enjoy the view from both sides and directly over the rushing water. If you would like to get closer to the Falls and have an adrenaline rush be sure to go jet boating with Huka Jets.
BTW If you look at the people in the top left hand corner of the lead picture here,you can get a better perspective of the size and magnitude of the majestic Huka Falls.
Catch some sun and practice your swing on the lake front 'Hole in One Driving Range'. The goal is to hit the golf over the water, onto the island and make a hole in one. No Mulligans allowed here, you miss-you lose. And if you want to try again, you'll have to use another ball. Pretty tough goal, I wonder how many people actually ever get a hole in one.More importantly, I wonder how often the lake gets dredged to collect all those missed shots!
Located just outside of Lake Taupo is another interesting thermal valley, that has been named for its resemblance to a different planet.
Craters of the Moon is part of the Wairakei Tourist Park complex, and is just seconds away from Huka Falls. We took the track around the entire site, and it took us a little over 30 minutes to walk it. Because of extensive rain the day before, I was disappointed that the mud pits were not bubbling to full potential, but what can you do!
I enjoyed this track as a walk and also for more view of some thermal activity.
The Huka Falls is listed as New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction.
You can walk there, catch a boat there or, do as I did and view them from the air.
They literally thunder over the drop and provide tourists with a photo opportunity they love; I shudder to think how many snaps a day are averaged here. Personally, I like falls in a rainforest but I can't deny the magnetism of this roaring body of water - more than 220,000 litres of water tumbles over the cliff face per second!
Set in Wairakei Tourist Park, just a short drive north of Taupo (you could walk it if you're fit), there is an Information Centre located by the falls and several viewing platforms provide excellent vantage points but none like the one I had.
I wasn't sure which part of the mountain to ski, in the end I chose Whakapapa.
What a place. In the words of a visiting American couple, "If this was in America they would close it down".
It's not a mountain for the faint of heart. I've never skiied anything like it before in my life......and probably will never again!
Imagine if you will a whole mountain where someone has dumped table sized rocks everywhere and then someone has found a path or two between them. All you have to do is follow the markers. There's no such thing as a wide open trail where you can do wide turns. No, this place keeps you on your toes the whole time you are skiing, especially if you're in almost-whiteout conditions as I was.
Partly due to my illness and partly due to the conditions I found it one of the most taxing days I've ever had on a skifield.
Having said all of the above, I only skied a small percentage of the mountain and my hosts assured me there were better runs on clear (a not frequent occurence) days.
There was an easy beginners area but, generally, you'd want to be reasonably confident on your feet to ski here.
To top it all, we had parked on ice and, when we returned after a day's skiing, the vehicle had moved about half a metre......scary.
Craters of the Moon is a loop track through an active thermal area (no entry fee). As you cross bubbling mud pools, craters and hissing steam vents, you could be forgiven for thinking you're on Mars. Keep to the wooden boardwalks unless you want to spend the rest of your holiday down in the Christchurch burns unit.
The Huka Falls is New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction. The thundering Huka Falls provides a fantastic photo opportunity - more than 220,000 litres of water tumbles over the cliff face per second! Located in Wairakei Tourist Park, just a short drive north of Taupo, there is an Information Centre located by the falls and several viewing platforms provide excellent vantage points.
feel the exhilaration and enjoy the incredible water level views of the spectacular Huka Falls. The jet entertains you with 30 minutes of pure fun and excitement in a beautiful river environment. Enjoy the power of our 360 spins, slide past cliffs and trees.
The Hidden Valley conjures up an image of something hardly anyone knows about. This would be a false image were you to hold it.
When you get there you have to catch a ferry across the river to actually get to the site and, though there's a cafe on site, the fare is limited and the staff less than enthusiastic.
The Lonely Planet waxes lyrical about this place, touting it as one of the best thermal experiences in the world.
Frankly, if this is almost as good as it gets, I just can't get too excited about the thermal experience.
It was different, to be sure, and it was interesting, but at $28 per person I had to wonder about its value. There were "waterfalls" with streaky colours, bubbling ponds reeking of sulphur, strange formations but, somehow, it was all a bit muted. I guess we were looking for a spouting geyser. There isn't one. There's a couple that threaten but never really do much at all.
In the end, I was glad I saw it, but wouldn't be rushing off to see it again.
This thermal attraction is located fairly close to Taupo.
You rock up to the carpark and there's an entrance gate where they're ready to take you money.
Once through you walk on well defined tracks, often boardwalks, through a myriad of different pools and steaming vents.
All in all I again found it interesting but not overwhelming.
We had sort of hoped this would make up for our lack of enthusiasm for Hidden Valley but it was just more of the same and Hidden Valley would definitely be our pick of the two.
Probably the highlight of my trip to Hidden Valley was getting there. First I had to turn back to fill up with petrol as we were uncertain if there were any garages en route. This turned out to be a wise move.
After you take the turn off away from the main road on to the dead end road to Hidden Valley the scenery is quite delightful and I stopped on more than one occasion to take some snaps. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I did taking them.
Couldn't resist the horse (pic 2) but, after I'd fed him one bit of grass, he could certainly resist me. Walked off in a huff. There you go, rejected again.
Still, that left me with the wonderful scenery to look at and none is more dramatic than Castle Rock. We had just visited Tirau and were on our way home via the scenic route, somewhere on the back roads near Arohena when we came across the area I shot these photos in.
It makes for a lovely day out and the rewards of exploring are manifold.
Lake Taupo is the largest lake in New Zealand in terms of surface area, and we definitely noticed this as we drove around the eastern border on our way to Tongariro National Park. The surface area covers 616 square kilometers and it is 193 kms in perimeter.
There is a large supply of Trout in this lake for those of you that like to fish, and this also drains out to the Waikato river if you are interested.
The lake lies within a caldera of a volcano which has erupted at least 28 times in the past 26,500 years.
Imagine a group of eccentric geriatrics sitting around in a small shed in the middle of a paddock with nothing better to do than fly. That should put you in the picture.
These men of the air all have a sense of humour as noted during the pre-flight comments, "If you want to do loop-the-loops go with him, he can't fly straight"; you get the scene.
So it was that I passed over money (about $160 as I recall) and was then strapped into a glider with Tom Murray at the controls.
I could tell that Tom, like all the rest, was never happier than when flying and today was a good day with lots of lift from the nearby mountain, well, ex-volcano really, and we were off behind the tow plane in no time.
I'd read where soaring is the ultimate flying experience as there's no propellor noises, it's simply you and the wind. Somehow it felt safer too but I'm not sure how I arrived at that conclusion.
I could have stayed up for ages and, yes, we did manage three loop-the-loops. We had to do three because I stuffed up the video for the first two and Tom was only too happy to do another and another.
You have three flight options, priced accordingly (mine was the most expensive) and, at the top end, you get to fly it yourself. Our only problem was that we had a communications lack of understanding and Tom thought I was flying it and I thought Tom was flying it. Amazing how those gliders know what to do when no-one's in charge!