Lake Taupo is a 4 hour bus ride North from Palmy and it was the perfect place to spend last weekend! I went with 4 of my girlfriends from school and we had a great time exploring the beaches, hikes, and downtown.
I have a class on Friday from 12-1, so I was able to catch a bus leaving Palmy at 1:20 on Friday afternoon with Carolyn and Jackie. We ended up getting into downtown Palmy a little early and we wanted to eat some lunch before the long bus ride, so we headed to a fish and chips restaurant where we ate a traditional NZ lunch of fish, chips, and L&P (which is basically a carbonated Arnold Palmer).
The bus ride to Taupo was so beautiful! I usually like to sleep on buses, planes,
during movies, etc. but I made myself stay awake for most of the 4 hour ride because the scenery was so awesome.
When we finally got into Taupo, we met up with Eve and Rachel who had already been there for a few hours. We sat in front of the water for a little while, and then I cashed in on the milkshake Eve owed me. (Don’t challenge me on Savage Garden knowledge. I will not lose.) Afterwards we headed to good ole Pak N Save and picked up some cheap groceries to make dinner. We ate at our hostel and watched a movie before getting our beauty sleep.We stayed at the Rainbow Lodge, which turned out to be really nice and clean. It wasn’t quite as good as Eve’s hostel though, which had pool tables and a cheap bar with $5 vodka cranberry slushies.
Saturday morning we woke up and headed to the beach around 10:30. We laid in the sun and blasted country music, so basically it was my idea of heaven.
After a few hours at the beach, Eve and Jackie left to go skydiving, and Carolyn and I went with Rachel to watch her bungy jump. I had butterflies for her the whole time, and it was so crazy to watch people literally jump off of a huge cliff. The area they jumped at was super beautiful and I think I took about 7,500 pictures, but don’t worry, I’ll just show you the highlights.
After our bungy adventure, we walked around town for a bit before deciding to head home for dinner (which may have been cheese and crackers….#yolinzo). We showered and got pretty, and then went to meet Eve at her hostel for happy hour.
I will never say no to discounted vodka slushies and that’s a promise. After a few hours we headed out to meet up with a new friend and accidentally crashed a birthday party? They were excited that we were American, so they let us hang out at their place where we drank lots of Scrumpy, had a country music sing a long, and chanted USA a lot (started by Kiwis believe it or not).
Sunday morning we woke up, checked out of our hostel, and went in search of brunch. After we ate, we took a taxi up to Craters of the Moon which is an hour long hike around an area with lots of geothermal activity, which basically means there are huge craters everywhere and the ground is steaming from all the heat under the surface.
After Craters of the Moon, we walked to the Huka Honey Hive to look around and sample some honey. It was so cute inside, and was definitely worth the long walk. They had all kinds of beauty products, as well as tons of different kinds of honey and live bees. (Side note, bees are awesome. I learned so many cool things, but no one else seemed interested so I’ll spare you.) We also got to sample a bunch of different honeys which were all delicious and mead, which is honey that is fermented into wine. It literally tasted like regular honey, but with a little acidity. Too sweet for me. We obviously couldn’t leave without tasting their special honey ice cream, and I may have had the best smoothie of my life.
After the Honey Hive, we hiked over to Huka Falls where I saw my first REAL waterfall! (I’m not counting the one I saw in Napier because it was a baby.) The water was insanely blue, which we were told is because the water is so violent and wave-y that lots of air gets into the stream and makes the water look lighter.
We headed to some thermal hot springs after Huka Falls, but unfortunately every single one of our cameras/phones were died so I don’t have any pictures. But it was basically like a natural hot tub. The water was so hot it was actually steaming and there were little waterfalls all over. The craziest thing was that the hot springs were actually a part of the river, and if you went farther out the water got cold (like a regular river). I was so mad that I forgot my suit and couldn’t get in, so we just dipped our feet in instead.
Our bus left Sunday night (Monday morning if you want to get technical) at 1 am, so we sat in our hostel and watched movies until it was time to board (Rachel and Carolyn had never seen Anchorman?!??). We didn’t get back into Palmy until 5:30 am, so Monday was a rough day, but it was totally worth it. 🙂