at the Chateau Tongariro
to do in Taupo
and Accommodation in Taupo
Just down the road from Lake Taupo is
a sleepy little surprise package.
is Turangi, a place most people pass through on the way to elsewhere
but, having spent a couple of days there photographing the Mt
Tongariro eruption in November 2012, I found Turangi a great
base to operate from.
is on the main highway, SH1, and from Turangi you can keep going
south down The Desert Road to
Waiouru and beyond, or cut across to National Park and the fabulous
mountains of Mt Ruapehu, Mt Ngauruhoe
and Mt Tongariro.
winter there is plenty of skiing to be done and in warmer months
the sightseeing is excellent, as is the famed Tongariro Crossing
offers eateries, accommodation and petrol, and a heap of adventure
firms are there for rafting and kayaking or, if you prefer a more
sedate time there, then trout fishing is famous in Turangi's rivers
and Lake Taupo.
I can suggest the Truck Stop cafe for hearty, inexpensive meals,
and for a cheap, cheerful and friendly stopover you could try the
A Plus backpackers. The owner Ian is very welcoming and his guests,
mostly from overseas, don't seem to want to leave the place.
in Turangi gave me a chance to explore a bit of the area that I
hadn't seen before.
best thing was heading down The Desert Rd, turning off at Tree Trunk
Gorge Rd, and visiting a hidden treasure.
a bridge at Tree Trunk Gorge is a river that has carved its way
through solid rock and it is a pretty amazing sight.
nearby Kaimanawa Rd, again off The Desert Road, you can check out
the Pillars of Hercules - again rocks sliced through by the Tongariro
River. A word of warning, however, if you are nervous of heights
hold on as you c ross the bridge to see the Pillars below you. The
bridge is very sway-ey. Mind you, I thought the rock formations
at a one-way bridge well before the Pillars were actually more interesting
don't forget that an hour south of Taupo is the New
Zealand Army Museum at Waiouru. This is a really interesting
museum that charts NZ's military history. Good displays of the various
weapons, uniforms and action are on show.