Australia and New ZealandTravel

Day 18, Rotorua to Taupo

A short drive this morning from Rotorua to Taupo. We were somewhat glad to check out of the Regent of Rotorua for various reasons (see my comments on Trip Advisor).

We decided that today we would avoid spending money on organized activities and focus on those things which are free. It turned out to be quite a good choice.

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Huka Falls

We started the day with a trip to Huka Falls, firstly with a distant view from a lookout we came across as we headed into town and then later after we had visited the iSite (tourist information) we headed out of town to the “Spa Park” where there is a marked 3km tail which provides a nice route to the Falls. The trail crosses a stream which is fed from an underground heated spring which provides a nice focal point for the locals to generally laze around in the naturally heated water. It’s a nice walk out to the falls although difficult to understand how they can call it a “mostly flat”. It isn’t. By any stretch of the imagination. According to Wikipedia, the volume of water flowing through the falls often approaches 220,000 litres per second. The flow rate is regulated by Mighty River Power through the Taupo Control Gates as part of their hydro system planning.

Aratiatia Rapids...before
Aratiatia Rapids…before
Aratiatia Rapids...after
Aratiatia Rapids…after

After the walk and a short detour into the town for lunch we headed out to Aratiatia Rapids which are created every two hours when the local dam is opened sending a torrent of water down the valley. It’s quite a sight to behold and the opening to the dam is preceded by three warning sirens i.e. they clearly want you to get out of the way (and you should heed the warnings!).

Acacia Bay Taupo
Acacia Bay Taupo

We were now in the late afternoon and so we made our way down to  lake foreshore for some gentle sightseeing and playing with the ducks before driving around the lake to our last walk of the day which took us out around Acacia Bay. Even though this is a non-tidal lake the walk is quite impressive, it was pretty windy and there was some fairly rough water around the headland.

After our day in Taupo we were left with the feeling that we had indeed spent too much time in Rotorua (and that Rotorua is not a place we will go back to in a hurry). We would however like to spend more time in Taupo.

We headed for our overnight stay to Tauhara Sunrise Lodge where we stayed for dinner (but somehow wish we had not!).  I would say that this was on of the places that we were most looking forward to staying on our trip, it was certainly one of the most expensive.  However, one thing to bear in mind when you stay in ’boutique’ or B&B accomodation is the chmistry with the owners.  I will admit that here we did not have that chemistry.  I’ve provided what I hope is an objective view on Trip Advisor.

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