Friday, June 1, 2012

Day in Taupo

Lake Taupo: Danger falling people.
We hoped on Naked Bus for a day in Taupo this past week.  Why Taupo?  To start, Taupo is home to Ironman New Zealand.  This past year's event was delayed because of high winds and then shortened to a 70.3 on the following day.  Would be nice to compete in this if I was here longer and there were openings.  From Tauranga to Taupo, the trip was a quick 3 hour nap for me.  I have unfortunately not seen a lot of scenery between cities up to this point as I have a tendency to fall asleep as soon as I get into a vehicle that I am not operating.  We got in shortly after 2 and wandered over to our hostel to check in.  We stayed at Taupo Urban Retreat hostel on Heuheu St.  They had a nice set up with lots of communal space for socializing and eating.  Even saw some advertisements for paintball on the wall.  After checking in, we wandered around the downtown area and some of the lake.  The lake is the crater of the last large eruption.  Which happened a long time ago, but there is still lots of geothermal activity.  As we get to other towns, we notice that there are set up remarkably the same.  The same chains are set up in the same approximate order and the mom and pop shops are pedaling the same goods.  Its still fun to explore though.
Yes BBQ!
Damn, its a Chinese Buffet.
Did I happen to find BBQ?  No.  My hopes were dashed when I read the sign closer as it was a Chinese Buffet.  Good thing it was closed or I would have told them about their false advertising.  Instead, we found this small Italian place where Beth got pumpkin filled ravioli with feta cheese squares and I got a pasta topped with a lot of seafood, mussels, prawns, calamari, and scallops.  I was impressed by my meal.  It was very tasty.
Looking for Huka Falls.
Back at the hostel we inquired about doing the Tongariro Crossing in the near future as snow is starting to accumulate on the top of Mt Ruapehu.  We should be able to do it without crampons, ice axe, and a guide if we get up there next week.  Also good news is that snowboarding isn't too far off and they are going to be celebrating Mardi Gras June 23!  I know they are off by a couple months, but Kiwis are often behind.  We joked with the front desk/bartender about this for a bit before heading to bed.

The next day we thought we would walk to Huka Falls.  We started by walking to the lake and then heading along the shore until we found the beginning of the river.  We tried to follow the shore as much as possible when the trail allowed for it, but once we got to the cemetary of the original settlers we were forced to the street.  We quickly found a path down towards the water again.  It actually lead us to Cherry Island.  From there we found the safety team for a bungy jump platform above the banks of the river.  We had to walk up to the street once again before we found the brick pathway that signified the walkway to Huka Falls.  We entered the park and read the sign that said the falls were an easy 2.8 km walk that should take 50 minutes one way.  We knew that we had to catch our bus to Wellington but we should be fine.  The falls were pretty impressive.  The river is squeezed into 15m channel and roughly 220,000 liters flow over the edge each second.

After leaving the falls and heading back to downtown, we came across a perfect place to workout.  For anyone looking to do a mud run, spartan race, dirty girl, or some other boot camp fashioned race, this park had almost every obstacle including a 5.6km trail run.  We played on the pulley and I played on most of the stations.

I must return to Taupo to do the following:
Tongariro Crossing - voted the best day hike in NZ.  Around 19 km 7-9 hour hike
Ironman New Zealand bike course or maybe the whole thing!
Lake Taupo bike challenge 160 km solo ride
Mountain biking their various trails and parks

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