NA­TURES UL­TI­MATE PLAY­GROUND

Where to visit at this time of the year is al­ways a co­nun­drum. Taupo and sur­round­ing re­gions go a long way to solv­ing that as the area is both cold and warm. The snow winds blow down from the moun­tains but there are also Hot Pools. Taupo is a year round d

New Zealand Golf Magazine - - PGA OF NZ -

Play Away with AVIS and visit the cen­tral North Is­land where there is so much to do.

With stun­ning nat­u­ral land­scapes you could be sip­ping a mi­cro-brew at the county's high­est café on the side of an ac­tive vol­cano, ski­ing on New Zealand's largest ski area, en­joy­ing a wide range of wa­ter­borne ac­tiv­i­ties, mak­ing the most of the fan­tas­tic hik­ing and fish­ing in the sur­round­ing forests and rivers.

For those of you who like to cast a line, it is easy to or­gan­ise a fish­ing char­ter to cruise the lake or drive 40 min­utes south to Tu­rangi, the Trout cap­i­tal of New Zealand, where you can team up with a fly fish­ing guide. You won't see trout on the menu in this town, as buy­ing the pro­tected species is pro­hib­ited in New Zealand, but many restau­rants are very happy to pre­pare and cook your own fresh catch.

For an­other unique angling ad­ven­ture, head to the Huka Prawn Park, the only place in the coun­try you can go fresh wa­ter prawn fish­ing. The geo­ther­mal waters trick the trop­i­cal prawn into think­ing they live in warmer climes. You can cook your catch on-site or have them put ‘on ice' to take away.

Af­ter the magic of the Prawn Park take a short drive to Huka Falls, New Zealand's most vis­ited and pho­tographed nat­u­ral at­trac­tion. Here the nor­mally wide Waikato River is sud­denly squeezed into a tight 15-me­tre-wide chasm be­fore burst­ing out over an 11-me­tre- high fall to re­join the river val­ley be­low. The re­sult: An an­gry, swirling mass of crystal-clear blue wa­ter, enough to fill an Olympic-sized swim­ming pool ev­ery 11 sec­onds. Play it safe and grab a selfie from one of the walk­ing trails or view­ing plat­forms above the gorge or be brave and hitch a thrilling ride with a ‘Hukafalls Jet' into the rag­ing white wa­ter at the base of the falls.

The Taupo Cliffhanger is New Zealand's new­est ex­treme swing, which lets swingers take in the view while they swing through na­ture. Lo­cated up­stream of Huka Falls, and just 5 min­utes from the Great Lake. Taupo Cliffhanger has been a con­cept in the mak­ing for many years. Fi­nally, in 2009, the site started con­struc­tion for an ex­treme swing. The plat­form was con­structed off-site, then brought in and at­tached to the un­der­neath of an ex­ist­ing, bungy plat­form. Enor­mous logs were erected in A-frame fash­ion on ei­ther side of the cliff, and ca­bles con­nected, which es­tab­lished the path of the swing.

For some­thing at a more se­date pace take to the Lake Taupo, the largest fresh­wa­ter lake in Aus­trala­sia. Formed some 2000 years ago by a mas­sive vol­canic erup­tion it was said to have dark­ened the skies in Europe and China.

En­joy a boat trip or kayak to the im­pres­sive 10-me­tre-tall Maori rock carv­ings at Mine Bay. In the 1970s, the soar­ing cliffs above the bay be­came an epic can­vas for a mas­ter carver and

other lo­cal artists. They etched a like­ness of Nga­toroirangi, the vi­sion­ary nav­i­ga­tor of the Te Arawa canoe. Sit back and re­lax on a scenic cruise and sail across the lake with one of the op­er­a­tors, this is a fan­tas­tic half day ex­pe­ri­ence. Your will need to have a thick coat though!

Take a day trip to the Ton­gariro Na­tional Park, about an hour and a half's drive south of Taupo. Drive up the moun­tain and to the vil­lage of Whaka­papa and the his­toric Chateau Ton­gariro Ho­tel. This grand ho­tel which opened in 1929 is grad­u­ally be­ing mod­i­fied and mod­ernised but is still a great place to dine and stay.

Pack some walk­ing shoes and a sense of ad­ven­ture and tackle the Ton­gariro Cross­ing, billed as one of the world's top 10 day walks. This other-worldly land­scape in­spired Sir Peter Jack­son's des­o­late Mor­dor in the Lord of the Rings Tril­ogy.

At the end of the day you can wind down with a soak in one

of the re­gion's nat­u­ral ther­mal pools. A stone's throw from Wairakei golf course are the Wairakei Ter­races Hot Pools, where you can re­lax in the warm sil­ica-in­fused adults-only springs, or stop off at DeBretts Hot Springs af­ter a day up the moun­tains for some more fam­ily-friendly fun. There's

also a few hid­den gems to be dis­cov­ered. Be­fore tee­ing off at one of the re­gions golf cour­ses, get your swing in at the Lake Taupo Hole In One Chal­lenge, si­t­u­ated right on the lake front. If you fancy your­self off the tee, a hole in one will earn you some fan­tas­tic prizes - how does $10,000 sound!

Lake Taupo.

Maori Carv­ing at Mine Bay.

Fish­ing, Lake Taupo.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.