Hiking, New Zealand, Travel
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Taupo, NZ: Hot Springs and Huka Falls

(Click here to see more of our pictures from Taupo)

After the Mt. Doom experience in National Park, we traveled north-eastward to Taupo, which is a popular midsize town set on the largest lake in NZ. Similar to Queenstown in NZ’s south island, Taupo is considered an adventure hub with lots of options for mountain biking, hiking, skydiving, and water sports.  We took a day to explore the town and rest from the long hike. 

Lake Taupo and Mt. Ngauruhoe  (Mt. Doom) in the distance

Troup creation – Grilled Veggie Quesadilla with fresh tomatoes, olives and avocado

 “Moms, we are not starving ourselves!”

Shru’s version of relaxation: Early morning WORKOUTS!

We found Taupo to be another extremely relaxing town, although there were definitely more cars, tour buses, and campervans obstructing our views of the natural surroundings than in the cities in the South. 

Dramatic Taupo sky

The next day we decided to do a hike along the river that runs through the town up to a set of hot springs and a large natural water feature called Huka Falls. The hike took us down a very well maintained trail that wound up and down hills and cliffs running alongside a roaring river that was a hotspot for adventure kayakers and the famous Taupo River Bungee.  We stopped under the bungee drop to see crazy tourists plummeting 40m from a cliff into the the river, screaming the entire way.  A little ways up from the bungee drop we ran into a park with a playground with a really cool zipline that is definitely meant for kids, but it worked really well for unemployed 30yr olds also.  I think Shru was actually a little scared at first to do the kiddie-zip, but she summoned the courage after she saw a 7 yr old whizz past on the zipline 😉  

Adventure activity hub

Taupo Bungee: Can you spot the jumper?

Cliff jumping across from the bungee jumping area

Shru’s version of adrenalin sports. In time, I will get her on one of those cliffs (muahhhh!)

Next, we hit the hot springs, where Shru and I relaxed in pools of 100 degree water cascading down from mini waterfalls.  Shru was reluctant to take the plunge because she didn’t have her bathing suit on, but after watching me uh and awe about how nice the water was she decided to roll up her pants and and wade in.  She had picked up quite a lot of sandfly bites, so the sulphur enriched springs helped subside the itchies. 

FREE hot shower!

Shru hoping to cure the sandfly bites

After the swim, we took off down the trail in route to Huka Falls, which was nice 4-5km stroll further down the river.  Along the way, the trail rises and falls down the waterline giving you great views down the river bends and rapids.  I’ll let the pictures of the Falls speak for themselves.  The river is compressed down to little more than a fourth of its width as it flows through two narrow rock faces.  This results in a powerful set of rapids that end in an explosive waterfall. 

on the way to Huka falls

The power of Huka Falls

beautiful parks along the hike to Huka Falls

On the trip back, we took one of my short-cuts that turned out to be a long-cut that cost us an extra 30min and got me into a little trouble.  Luckily, we ran into a small farmer’s market on the alternate route and scored some really fresh fruits that sort of saved me to some degree.  That night we cooked up some good food at the hostel and kicked back a little.  The next day we’d be off to Roturoa, and hour are so north from Taupo and home to some crazy seismic activity, hotsprings, mudpools, and sulphur-filled air…where smelly is the norm.  

Seen during the hike: Magpie bird

another bird seen during the hike

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