Day 12 - Lake Taupo
We woke early on Sunday morning, showered and hit the road early with Taupo as our destination. The drive was short in comparison to others we had undertaken and 1 1/2 hours later we reached the glorious lake, with everyone and their Nan so it appeared. Easter Sunday was a busy day for Taupeans, with everyone out in force. We parked in some free spaces away from the crowd and took a walk towards the shops and lake front.
The town was bustling and when we reached the front we found some beautiful prestige cars lined the green including corvettes, ford GTs, Porsches, Cadilacs and various other hot rods. From here we walked around the town, popping in various gifts shops picking up presents and gifts for ourselves. The town felt like people actually lived in it, rather than a holiday resort closing for winter, so we had the opportunity to shop and take in the sites and sounds. Shopping done, we dropped via Pac N Save for some lunch and dinner items and then headed to our next adventure, Huka Falls.
We parked at the Spa carpark, as instructed in our guide book and started to walk towards what had been described as a breathtaking waterfall on Waikato river, it should take around 1 hour to arrive. After a 15 minute stroll, we arrived at a very busy area full of locals and tourists alike, all on the banks of the river, or swimming/relaxing. The water looked like it was evaporating as steam billowed up from certain areas. It become evident that this area was the thermal spa and despite small waterfalls running over the rocks into the river we were certain that we hadn't reached our destination and that we should carry on walking. We followed the stream and happened upon a sign that said Huka Falls 4.5km, so we followed it. It became evident around 1.5km into our walk that we had stumbled upon the bike track and we were the foreigners. We marched double time as not to p*ss anyone off and made the 4.5km in 40 minutes.
We heard the crashing waves way before we saw them, like the distant rumble of Jumanji. We turned the final corner and were hit by a wave, not water but tourists, all clambering for the perfect selfie. We had no time for these people, those who has swanned up in their fancy cars...did that not realise we had 'clarkey marched' for 40 minutes in 25 degrees to reach this spot!!!
The view however was spectacular, the wide river narrowing to just 15 meters and sending the crystal clear water into a frenzied 10 meter descent over about a 50 stretch. The water tumbled in every direction and the force in some places made it flow upstream. We took a few snaps from different locations to ensure we filled out tourist quota, stopped for an ice tea and ice cream and then hit the correct footpath back to the Spa car park. Again, we marched triple time to work up a sweat, burn some calories and to get out of the sun as fast as we could; circa 30 minutes for 4km.
In the van and rehydrated, we decided to head to Rotorua which was just 76km away from Taupo; this meant we had the whole day to spend in Rotorua and could even stay a second night if we wanted. The campsite we found was the ONLY one with spaces remaining so we had to take it; noisy, oversubscribed and cramped, but we had a toilet, a shower and free wifi, so who are we to complain.