Are we travelling or are we on holiday? Difficult question sometimes and often a fine line between the two. Sometimes we are definitely travelling, or land sailing as we prefer to say, but this week has certainly felt like a holiday.
Not sure why, it could be the lively town and it’s tourist-heavy lakefront. Or perhaps it’s our lovely hosts, Martin and Leonie, who have looked after us so well and spent so much time and effort making sure we have a relaxing time. Or perhaps it’s the fabulous weather? Who knows. The fact is that our week in Taupo has felt like a real holiday so far. Oh, and it’s thrown up another one of our ‘moments’ which I’ll tell you about later.
Before I continue it isn’t pronounced how it’s spelt, like so many other towns in the North Island. The ‘whaka’ at the beginning is pronounced ‘foka’ for some reason, probably to confuse tourists. Obviously its a Maori name which is the real reason for the strange pronounciation. Anyway, we constantly got it wrong and showed ourselves up so no change there.
Martin and Leonie kindly took us out for the day to the lovely coastal town of Whakatane (‘Fokartarnay’) uwhich is a couple of hours north east of Taupo on the Bay of Plenty. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t all that good but but the scenery was fabulous and the company even better. Leonie organised a great picnic lunch, and we had a fabulous day walking along Ohope Beach and exploring the town of Whakatane. Fascinating drive passing through places such as Horohoro, Whakarewarewa and Tiktere! More pronounciation issues!
One of the big touristy places around Taupo is the Huka Falls. Martin kindly dropped us off at the Falls and after negotiating the coachloads of camera-toting crazy tourists we had a lovely walk back along the Waikato River into town. The Huka Falls are a series of falls that drain from Lake Taupo and apparently 220,000 litres of water cascades down them every second! It’s all to do with the river narrowing from 100 metres wide to 15 which just forces the water down the narrow gorge to the falls. Very noisy and pretty impressive.
Stopped off to watch some daft bungee jumpers where we confirmed that we’d never ever do anything so expensive and so crazy. Ok for some I guess but not us, we’re happy to watch. Also, loads of hot springs and thermal pools in the area which people seem to be mad for. I’m really not a fan but they attract visitors in massive numbers. What’s the fun in having a hot bath in public?
It might be now that I tell you about our moment, or should I wait a while? Maybe in a minute so be patient.
Our days here in Taupo have been filled with sunshine and swimming and hanging out with our hosts and we’ve had the best time. Their house is beautiful and they have made us so welcome. It will be a real wrench to move on next week but we’re packing as much in as we can to make the most of it.
The town is a real holiday resort with a fabulous lake front with countless bars and restaurants and shops catering for all sorts. We’ve eaten out a couple of times in the Mole and Chicken restaurant, the Pub’n Grub, and Dixie Browns and obviously enjoyed the odd beer and wine at a few other places. So much to do here.
We had another great walk when we wandered around the Botanical Gardens and then down to the lake. Jo knows all about the various plants and trees but all I know is that we saw some blue ones that looked like shower caps, a couple of red bits, several purple floppy things, and a lot of green! Pure green.
Another one of those moments
Ok it’s time. Sit back, relax and listen carefully. Picture the scene, Martin and Leonie have left us alone in their lovely house (crazy maybe) and we’re sitting in the sun reading and having a cold beer. The crickets are chirping all around and we’re enjoying a typical New Zealand quiet summer afternoon. Except for the noise! The town of Taupo has an annual concert which just happens to be on as we sit here. As I step outside into the sunshine and look towards the lake the opening chords of ‘Power of Love’ by Huey Lewis and the News blast out. Completely surreal. Standing there listening to the whole song being performed live just felt perfect. Had to stop ourselves from singing along. Amazing.
Incredible. Sounded like the thousands of people watching the show were having a great time but they didn’t have the surreal experience that we did.
27.1 – 29.1.2016