Taupo is a tourist’s dream! Located in the center of NZ’s North Island, Taupo is situated alongside a picturesque lake, is always humming with activity, and is roughly twenty-minutes from all of the region’s attractions. Given the ideal location of the town and all of it’s WOLOing potential, there’s no wonder why we called this small, action-packed town “home” for nearly one week! (It also helped that there was free camping 5-minutes from the center of town situated along the beautiful and clear Waikato River!)
One of our first adventures in town was Spa Park Natural Hot Springs; a free, natural hot spring accessible via a 5-minute walk past some adorable toadstools. When we arrived it was pouring rain, so, in true WOLO-fashion, we threw on the bikinis, shoved a few towels in a plastic bag, squeezed under the umbrella, and headed down the walkway. What we found was amazing – steaming hot waterfalls flowing into the river, thus creating pools that ranged in temperature from too-hot to too-cold and everything in between! For us, it was the ultimate soaking experience that lasted two hours and of course, happened all over again a day later! [Note: Considering the hot spring is just minutes from downtown Taupo it is amazing that it remains completely undeveloped and FREE – this is a must-see, must-do if you are in the area!]
Between our trips to the hot springs we also managed to visit Huka (hooka) Falls – a super blue ribbon of water squeezed between towering walls of basalt before spilling over a 15 meter (50 feet) ledge! Being one of the most popular attractions near Taupo this site is always mobbed, so our visit lasted no more than 15-minutes before we ventured to the geothermal attraction known as Craters of the Moon ($8 per person). Meandering through the park we encountered foul-smelling (aka sulfur-spewing) and hissing fumaroles and craters with “unearthly” characteristics!
When we weren’t soaking or touring the rest of our time was spent WOLOing and enjoying Taupo’s lively downtown scene, including margaritas at Taco Taco, a nice meal at Dixie Brown’s, and delicious hamburgers from BurgerFuel; it reminded us of a mini-Queenstown!
Next stop: The Tongariro Crossing
Song lyrics: James Blunt “Bonfire Heart”
– Go. Change your state of mind.