A much-loved destination (some would say over loved) for tourists in New Zealand, Taupo (pronounced toe paw) is a beautiful spot with lots of fun and interesting things to see and do. Great Lake Taupo is one of New Zealand’s great landmarks. A wonderful place for a solo female holiday.
From taking a sailing boat or kayak tour to see the Maori carvings to hiking and biking, Taupo provides plenty of activities for the young or young at heart. Away from Great Lake Taupo, you’ll find beautiful countryside, majestic falls and the thermal pools that the North Island of New Zealand is much famous for.
My road trip from Rotorua had taken me through some magical countryside and it was a gloriously sunny day on my arrival into Taupo.
To get my bearings and to find a camping ground to pitch my tent, I stopped off at the i-Site tourist information centre. I needed to spend a penny (which ended up costing me 50 cents) and found great amenities including free wifi around the area. Map in hand, Taupo is easy to navigate within 1/2 an hour I had pitched my little tent and was ready to explore my new surroundings.
On first impression, Taupo looked like many other tourist destinations, lots of little cafes and restaurants line the road along the foreshore and the McDonalds is crowded with tourists and backpackers from many other lands. Young backpackers seem to overtake the town and have been known to bathe in Great Lake Taupo and the Spa Park. Having lived in Byron Bay Australia for many years I was conscious of how this type of tourism has both benefits and impacts for the locals in the town. I was soon to find that Taupo and its surrounds are such a wonderful place it’s no wonder the tourists flock there. Like many places in the world, it is however, easy to escape the madness and find lovely things to do and wonderful people to meet.
Lake Taupo was formed by a volcanic eruption, approximately 27000 years ago.
Walking along its little beaches you’ll find evidence of its beginnings. I found lots of pumice stone is an igneous rock which is formed when volcanoes erupt.
Local Maori legend tells a different story though. Legend has it that when Ngatoirangi, the chief priest of the Arawa people, first saw the area, it was barren and he wondered how people could live there. To have resources to feed his people he took a Totara tree and threw it into the crater. As he threw it, the tree flipped over and landed upside down, its branches causing a hole in the ground through which water gushed and created the lake that is here today.
Not far out of Town you’ll find Huka Falls, one of nature’s wonders.
With easy access by car and biking and walking trails to get there Huka Falls is a popular attraction. When you arrive its easy to see why. The color of the water was the first thing that took my eye, such a lovely shade of blue.
Around town in Taupo, I found great places to walk along the boardwalk, hot sand beaches and wonderful little places to grab a coffee, sit and read a book and just watch the world go by. I took a wonderful little drive and walk around the Taupo Botanical Gardens where I found myself almost alone.
Taupo is well worth a visit on your trip to New Zealand.