Palmerston North and beautiful Lake Taupo
Trip Start Jan 16, 2010
56Trip End Oct 19, 2010
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We spent the evening in Palmerston North where John Cleese was quoted in saying 'you may consider suicide in Palmerston North' but we arrived and found it quite lovely. It has a very grand town centre square with a grass park, benches, fountain and tree fairy lights that light in the evening. There wasn't much to see but it was at the end of the day so we parked up to cook and went out for some drinks in the evening. It was Saturday night and the strange thing about the town was that it was big and no1 apparently for students yet we couldn't see any crowds anywhere. We headed to a bar that looked nice but even though there were some people there the atmosphere was pretty dead and the music volume non existent
In the morning we visited the Sunday Farmers Market and tasted the local products talking to their makers.
As we waited for the library to open we went to the local bookshop and Anna discovered some great books to remember:
• The teen vogue handbook 2009-tips to working within a magazine
• Dita striptease (Von Teese, flip books)
• My wonderful world of fashion by Nina chakrabarti
• 400 art deco motifs by graham leslie mccallum
We then headed to the New Zealand Rugby Museum which has memorbelia from the beginning of the World Cups to the Trinations games
We moved on to Taupo which was a real highlight for us on the North Island. We arrived early evening and parked up for a short walk round town. We went into Element Bar and had some classic Snakebites on happy hour whilst playing some free pool. It was quiz night so we took part but unfortunately no luck this time, bad on us as they were actually fairly easy questions! : / We spent that evening parked up in a residential road as we didn't have our bearings on the town.
The next day was a sunny one and we took the opportunity to walk the Huka falls walkway. Taupo is a thermal area and right near the beginning of the walk we came across the thermal stream that leads into the river. The stream has large rocks creating mini pools and waterfalls which creates many different areas to bathe in the natural hot water. We decided to take a dip when we were back from our walk.
The walk ran along the river, with low and high view points along the way taking us about one hour to reach the Huka falls. We stopped at the bridge over the gauge which leads up to the great waterfall. The water is forced into a narrow alleyway which looks spectacular and exits at Huka Falls-a wide and powerful drop at the end
Once at the falls we watched the Huka Falls Jet speedboats bring tourists to the nearest fall point whilst having a delicious pate, olive, cheese and cracker picnic lunch on the bench. Yum!
The walk back was much quicker and we worked up a sweat ready to get in the hot pools. Once there we were quite hot so even though it wasn't a particularly warm day we stripped down to our swimmers and got right in. It is the weirdest sensation stepping into a river that is as hot as a bath! Some of the areas further up stream were too hot to stay in long or even get in! There is steam coming off the water and 100 year old volcanic gravel rock you sit on or use to exfoliate. Free hot bliss- the best thing when you are living in a camper van- a free hot wash!
Back at the carpark and we were pampered and refreshed. We met David and Kirsty from Edinburgh in a Spaceship camper- we thought this was the same as a Jucy but it didn't have a sink or fridge. We had a chat and said we would meet them later at Reid Farm- a local free campsite on the river.
We walked round the centre and then to the cheap Cybershed Internet shop before heading to camp for the evening. We met David and Kirsty there and cooked some yummy Chicken Korma dinner. We spent the whole evening chatting and time flew by. It was nice to be camping for the night to wake up to the scenic river
In the morning Kirsty and David had gone, maybe an early start- we were bit stumped, oh well. We headed straight for the natural hot stream as it was too good not to take a dip twice. The park area also had a really good challenging assault course which we just had to complete which was fun. Feeling refreshed we headed to the Volcanic Centre to learn about the activity in the area but unfortunately the centre was a bit of a let down as the displays were old and we learnt most of the information given already at Te Papa Museum, Wellington. We ended the day at the honey hive where they produce natural honeys including lavendar honey and the health boosting Manuka Honey. We had as many tastings as we could take- honey gives a great boost of natural energy but is too rich and sweet after many tastings. We watched the glass display live hive as the bee's came and went as they pleased. We looked into doing the high ropes course also on the same site but thought it was a bit too much money for us.
Evening was near so we decided to stay the night at Reid Farm again after a few drinks at Element.
In the morning we left Taupo but visited Huka Falls View Point, the Taupo View Point and Craters of the moon
We really enjoyed Taupo not only because of the amount of activities and natural beauty it has to offer but the great affordability which allows you to do many things. Huka Falls walkway area is great!