We weren’t due to arrive in Wanganui to house sit for another two days, so we decided to hang out in Taupo for a couple of days. Taupo is located between Rotorua and Wanganui and boasts beautiful views of Mt. Ruapehu, Mt. Ngauruhoe, and Mt. Tongariro. It also has the largest lake in New Zealand, Lake Taupo. We shacked up at the Great Lake Motel which was located just across the street from the lake and happened to be the closest accommodations to town. The owners of the Great Lake Motel were not only friendly, they actually showed us to our room, made sure everything was in order and even gave us an adapter plug they had lying around since the one we brought wasn’t cooperating. You just don’t see that kind of hospitality and service too much anymore, but it seems to be the “Kiwi Way”.
Things got a bit sticky when we went to the Huka Honey Hive just outside of town where we got to taste all sorts of honey products, including liqueurs, sauces and of course honey! We also learned about the process of making the honey and beekeeping. The real reason we went was to get our free ice cream using the coupons Simone found in a coupon book at the motel. They lured us in with the free coupon trick and set the hook after we purchased some “beenut butter” (peanut butter mixed with honey) and a bottle of honey beer, both were very good and it was a good little outing. On the way back to town we also stopped at Huka Falls, which ended up being much smaller than we expected but was flowing some of the clearest blue water and had some nice walking paths near by.
Since we enjoyed our time at Orakei Koroko geothermal park in Rotorua so much, we decided to go over to another park just outside of Taupo called Craters of the Moon. This park ended up being a big disappointment and really not worth the small entry fee just to look at some steam coming out of the ground. It lacked the geothermal water pools and features that we saw in Rotorua and not a recommendation on our list of sites to see in Taupo.
The food scene in Taupo, like much of New Zealand so far seemed to be lacking and expensive. We ended up having quite a good meal at Cinnamon, an authentic Indian restaurant with good service and those rich curry sauces that Indian cuisine is known for. Indian fare seems to be the best value for your money in New Zealand without a drop in quality.
Maybe it was the free ice cream, but Taupo ended up being a good stop for us before heading through the “land of Sauron” and past “Mount Doom” (Mt. Ngauruhoe) and other Lord of the Rings sites. Next, we’re off to house sit…