Go Travel New Zealand - - Contents - ByLisaLaity

The sap­phire waters of the great lake, the ma­jes­tic peaks of Ton­gariro Na­tional Park to the south and the sleepy sil­hou­ette of Mount Tauhara to the east pro­vide a panoramic feast for the eyes.

What’s not to love? This is the cen­tral north is­land’s hub and it de­liv­ers the goods in ev­ery sense.

Whether you’re an adren­a­line junky in search of your next heart-pound­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, a shop­per with a wal­let burn­ing a hole in your pocket, an avid cof­fee drink­ing, peo­ple-watch­ing en­thu­si­ast, na­ture lover or just on the hunt for a culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ence wor­thy of five stars, you won’t be dis­ap­pointed with a visit to New Zealand’s events cap­i­tal.

For many, it’s the lake that beck­ons. Her­alded as the trout fish­ing cap­i­tal of the world, it’s no wonder peo­ple visit from the four cor­ners in search of land­ing the big one. If you’re a sea­soned pro or com­plete novice you can be as­sured there will be an ex­pe­ri­ence just right for you.

And while the crys­tal waters do draw the masses, the lure is not only con­fined to the great lake. The sur­round­ing rivers only serve to am­plify what’s on of­fer.

A trip down the Ton­gariro River with the crew from Ton­gariro River Raft­ing is a must do. Not only does this grade three trip leave your heart pump­ing, it also of­fers an en­vi­ron­men­tal and scenic treat with a stun­ning back­drop and the sounds of na­ture as your mu­si­cal sound­track.

Fur­ther north, the waters of the mighty Waikato River can also be en­joyed and for many this is an ex­pe­ri­ence best served from above. Stand on the 47-me­tre-high plat­form at Taupo Bungy, New Zealand’s

high­est wa­ter touch bungy and add your name to the list of those who have bravely dived head­first into the clear waters be­low. If, like me, you’re a safety in num­bers kind of thrill seeker, grab a buddy and opt for the tan­dem ex­pe­ri­ence. Ei­ther way this is by far one of the most ex­hil­a­rat­ing ways to ex­plore New Zealand’s long­est river.

If sheer speed is more your thing, then an ac­tion-packed spin on Hukafalls Jet is just an­other way in which you can ex­plore the iconic waters of the Waikato River and per­haps more im­por­tantly the mighty Huka Falls. Sit be­neath this beast of a water­fall and watch as the colours of the wa­ter dance, bub­ble and churn with unimag­in­able speed and force. Get closer than you thought pos­si­ble and feel the spray on your face as you reach for your cam­era and snap that un­for­get­table pic­ture.

When you think you’ve seen it all, I’d sug­gest you take one last, al­len­com­pass­ing glance of this mag­i­cal corner of the world and the best place to do that is from the air.

Rus­tle up some courage and book your­self in for one fi­nal treat, a tan­dem sky­dive above Great Lake Taupo. At ei­ther 12,000 or 15,000 feet, Taupo Tan­dem Sky­div­ing can guar­an­tee a view that would ri­val any post­card and the per­fect way to com­plete your visit to the North Is­land’s ad­ven­ture mecca.

Taupo’s gen­er­ous ac­tiv­ity cal­en­dar ex­pands through­out the sea­sons, of­fer­ing visi­tors plen­ti­ful op­tions year round. High class moun­tain bik­ing trails, epic hik­ing routes, snow ski­ing in the win­ter, wa­ter ski­ing in the sum­mer and lux­u­ri­ous nat­u­ral hot pools mean no month is left un­touched and you can be sure your trip to Great Lake Taupo will be one the whole fam­ily can en­joy.

When the tem­per­a­ture drops and the days get shorter it’s a clear sign that win­ter is on its way and if, like me, that gets you buzzing enough to drag out the snow­board and start that all im­por­tant pre-sea­son tune, I’m pick­ing you’ll want to head south and get amongst the ac­tion Mount Ruapehu has to of­fer. As the north is­land’s only com­mer­cial ski field, Mount Ruapehu of­fers a smorgasbord of ter­rain and two ski fields, en­sur­ing a day of fun for

be­gin­ners to die-hard ski bun­nies.

When you’ve had enough heartrac­ing ac­tion head north on State High­way One and pay a visit to the en­chant­ing hid­den val­ley of Orakei Ko­rako. Steeped in nat­u­ral wonder, this beau­ti­ful park pays homage to the cen­tral north is­land’s geother­mal iden­tity. This won­der­land is home to New Zealand’s largest num­ber of ac­tive gey­sers, with 23 in to­tal per­form­ing a myr­iad of dances for visi­tors. Boil­ing nat­u­ral springs, na­tive bush walks and a re­mark­able colour pal­let pro­vides a feast for the senses.

When the sight, sounds, thrills and spills leg of your trip is over, a stroll through the Taupo Mu­seum to un­earth how it all be­gan is well worth the visit. Home to a charm­ing ar­ray of dis­plays, the mu­seum, nes­tled in the town cen­tre, is a de­light­ful place to re­cap on your Taupo ad­ven­ture. Take a stroll at your own pace and ex­plore the mu­seum at your leisure.

One fi­nal rec­om­men­da­tion is a stay at Taupo’s only five star ho­tel, the Hil­ton Lake Taupo. Sit­ting pretty be­neath iconic Mount Tauhara, the ho­tel is a beau­ti­ful illustration of cen­turies col­lid­ing. The new ho­tel sits along­side the for­mer Ter­races Ho­tel, which has a proud and long-stand­ing his­tory in Taupo. En­joy an award­win­ning meal at the ho­tel’s restau­rant Bistro Lago and then fin­ish off the day with a soak in the hot pools at neigh­bour­ing De Bretts Spa Re­sort.

The beauty of Taupo lies in its end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties. From a quiet week­end get­away to an ac­tion packed visit or the ideal spot for a fam­ily hol­i­day, it’s cen­tral lo­ca­tion, stun­ning nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, im­pres­sive events cal­en­dar and var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties, at­trac­tions and ex­pe­ri­ences will leave you com­pletely spoilt for choice.

The hub of the cen­tral north is­land, Taupo of­fers visi­tors a unique and un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence. Stay, play or kick back and just en­joy a back­drop wor­thy of any cof­fee ta­ble book. This is un­doubt­edly one of the coun­try’s most stun­ning play­grounds. So what are you wait­ing for?

Bungy over the Waikato River

Hil­ton Bistro din­ing Orakei Ko­rako

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