GUEST ARTICLE: Taupo is a very short drive from Rotorua. Most accommodation options line the lake. Drop by their comprehensive I-site on arrival to canvass and book some of the activities on offer and get some independent advice.
Your first stop along the main road into Taupo should be the Huka Falls. The intensity of the rapids flowing in Huka Falls colours the water a brilliant light creamy blue. There are a number of lookout points, but the best way to photograph the falls is through the Huka Falls Cruise ($30). The friendly driver lets little kids drive the boat for short stints, points out flora and fauna along the way and circles the falls slowly to let you take many shots.
Pop by the Honey Hive next to sample an array of Manuka and Puhowaka honey icecream, sweets, creams and mead! Then drive next door to the Volcanic Activity Centre $9.50 and browse through the displays, models and simulators to learn how colliding tectonic plates under the Island has created a hive of geothermal in the region, some of which you can see at the Craters of the Moon Reserve (about $12) down the road. Steaming fumaroles, large volcanic craters, bubbling mud and steam vents dot this large low-lying shrubby reserve.
Dinner at the Heritage Indian Restaurant was a departure from the stock standard flavours found at most Westernised Indian joints, but it was strangely similar to Mr India down the road. It seems I had stumbled across another cosy duopoly!
Both had identical menus (down to the font) and seasonally adjusted prices. It turned out to be a husband and wife management team. The owner of the Heritage explained it was necessary to harmonise the menus during the holiday season in order to handle the spike in demand and cater for the tastes of tourists yearning only for Butter Chicken, Rogan Josh and Garlic Naans! Made perfect business sense really.
This article has been written by Pranav Bhatt. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Economics and Business at Sydney University. He has an interest in world travel, cricket, politics, technology and the media.
If you’ve travelled somewhere off the beaten track, can write well and have good quality photos I encourage you to contact me and I’ll consider publishing your travel diary here including generous attribution and links back to your website as thanks for your contribution